The Encounter Weekly 28 -02 September, 2021

Stay up to date with the most recent news, investments and partnerships regarding the agrifood tech industry and sustainability.




IPOs, M&As & Investments:


US alt-protein company Eat Just is partnering with Qatar state-run agencies Doha Venture Capital (DVC) and Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) to build what it says is the MENA [Middle East and Northern Africa] region’s first-ever facility for cultivated meat.

​​Zurich-based Oviva raises €67.5 million Series C funding for its personalised, app-based diet and lifestyle coaching . The round was co-led by Sofina and Temasek, alongside existing investors AlbionVC, Earlybird, Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital, MTIP, and several angel investors.

US and Israel-based digital ag startup Fieldin has raised $30 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Fortissimo Capital, with Zeev Ventures, Icon Ventures, Maor Investments, and Akkadian Ventures also participating. The round brings Fieldin’s total funding to $55 million.

Leipzig-based sustainable food startup the nu company has successfully completed its first financing round following triple-digit sales growth for the fourth consecutive year. Raising over €14 million in series A funding, the challenger brand is looking to seriously disrupt the food industry with its vegan product line.

Kellogg’s Eighteen94 venture capital fund was a return investor in the latest funding round for Plantible Foods, which makes its Rubi Protein product from lemna, also known as water lentils or duckweed. The $21.5 million Series A funding round was led by Astanor Ventures.

Stockholm’s Stockeld Dreamery announced its Series A round of $20 million co-led by Astanor Ventures and Northzone. Joining them in the round was Gullspång Re:food, Eurazeo, Norrsken VC, Edastra, Trellis Road and angel investors David Frenkiel and Alexander Ljung.


Allklear has completed a HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) series pre-A funding for its Detox Future Salad drink – bringing its total value estimate to nearly HK$100 million (US$12.8 million). The Hong Kong food-tech start-up’s flagship product is created with freeze-drying food technology, a technology used to manufacture aerospace foods.

CULT FOOD SCIENCE CORP, a Canadian-based investment platform focused exclusively on investments in cultured, lab-grown meat and dairy products, has completed the closing of a strategic investment in Biftek Inc. The news follows its very recent investment into Novel Farms, producer of whole cuts of gourmet cell-cultured meat such as Iberian pork and dry-cured Iberian ham.

Agricycle Global, a food and agriculture waste start-up based in Wisconsin, announced this week that it has raised a two-part seed round totaling $2.4 million. The round was led by MaSa Partners and CSA Partners, with participation from Wisconsin Investment Partners, Brightstar Wisconsin, and several angel investors.

Russian internet and ride-hail giant Yandex has acquired Uber’s stake in its Self-Driving Group (SDG), as well as Uber’s indirect interest in Yandex.Eats, Yandex.Lavka and Yandex.Delivery. The total cost of the deal came to $1 billion, giving the Russian company 100% ownership over all four businesses.

Sovos Brands has filed for an initial public offering that could raise $100 million. The Colorado-based company, founded in 2017, owns Rao's Homemade pasta sauces, Noosa Yoghurt, Michael Angelo's frozen offerings and Birch Benders pancake mixes.

Hailing from Canada and recently rebranded from Globally Local, Odd Burger can hold the claim of being one of the world’s first vegan fast-food chains and the first to go public.


News & Trends:

Moolec, a food tech company that develops animals proteins through plants, and Grupo Insud, an ingredient manufacturer for the pharmaceutical industry, shared this week that they will partner together for research. The two companies will focus on developing solutions for the alternative protein industry, using fungi, yeast, and microorganisms to create animal-free ingredients.

Provectus Algae – an Australian startup developing an automated growing platform it claims can unlock algae’s potential as a source of high-value ingredients – is building a large-scale manufacturing facility in Noosaville, Australia, that will start to produce a “high-performance food coloring" later this year

AB InBev's Natural Light is entering the vodka category with the launch of Natural Light Vodka, the company said in a statement. The product, with a 30% alcohol by volume content, will be available in three flavors: Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade and Black Cherry Lemonade. They will be sold in 750 ml and 50 ml bottles.

Tyson is investing $300 million in a new plant to ramp up production of fully cooked chicken products. The facility, being built in Danville, Virginia, is set to open in spring 2023 and will employ nearly 400 new workers.

Ginkgo Bioworks has signed a multi-program collaboration with flavor giant Givaudan. The partnership will leverage Ginkgo’s practice of developing ingredients through bioengineering the gene sequences responsible for producing organoleptic qualities in plants into yeasts.

Smart kitchen and personalized shopping software startup Innit announced they have partnered with Google Cloud. The new strategic partnership will help “grocery retailers to deliver personalized services across the entire meal journey, spanning online, in-store, and at home.”

According to recent studies at Cornell University, judiciously decomposing organic matter from 700 degrees Fahrenheit to 1,200 degrees F, without oxygen -- a process known as pyrolysis -- and retaining nutrients from dairy lagoons can transform manure into a manageable, ecologically friendly biochar fertilizer.

Using a novel modelling approach, new research reveals the location and intensity of key threats to biodiversity on land and identifies priority areas across the world to help inform conservation decision making at national and local levels.

Launched in 2018 as an Instagram page, Delhi-based health and nutrition startup ParaFit offers curated meals along with customised diet plans, training and fitness strategies, recipes, and more. This online health and nutrition startup grew 2.5X amid the pandemic due to a surge in demand for healthy food.


While agriculture’s contribution of 10% of all carbon emissions in the US is much less than other economic sectors, there has been a growing recognition among stakeholders of the need to join the fight against climate change given the risks it poses to their livelihoods.

Here are some of the drink start-ups who made the cut and who are shaking up 2021 and hopefully beyond: Vitibot, Virtue Drinks, CleanCo, MiniBrew, Kaffe Bueno, Zymoscope, One Year No Beer, Hempfy Füd. Vitamin Energy.

The Food Innovation Hub Europe – an initiative from the World Economic Forum, Foodvalley NL and partners – has launched Booster, a prize award that aims to support initiatives aimed at reducing obesity.

Serial Israeli entrepreneur Saar Safra, together with three other co-founders, established Beewise, a startup based in Beit Ha’emek that has since developed what it calls the first automated and autonomous beehive dubbed the Beehome.

Amazon Retail on Tuesday announced the launch of its agronomy services for farmers that will provide timely advice and enable them to make accurate decisions on actions required for their crops.

Maricel Saenz, founder and CEO of Compound Foods, is among the over 80% of Americans who love a cup of coffee daily. And she also loves the environment. However, when the Costa Rican-born entrepreneur, now living in the Bay Area, saw how climate change was affecting coffee growers around the world — coffee is the fifth-most polluting crop in the value chain — she wanted to create a coffee product that tasted good, but was also sustainable.

Franklin Farms, a division of Keystone Natural Holdings, has introduced a new line of chickpea products to its portfolio of plant-based offerings. The new line of tofu made from chickpeas is low in fat and allergen-free.

ADM has achieved net carbon neutral status at its US mills through a combination of energy efficiencies, purchase of renewable energy certificates and sequestration of carbon dioxide at the company’s commercial carbon capture and storage facility.

Nestlé has inaugurated its largest R+D Accelerator in a bid to accelerate “the translation of fundamental science into cross-category innovations” with rapid speed to market. The new center is embedded at Nestlé’s research facilities in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is part of Nestlé’s wider R+D Accelerator network launched in 2019 to bring highly differentiated innovations to the market quickly.

Swiss technology group Bühler and the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) have strengthened their partnership with the inauguration of a technology center designed to develop extruded meat substitutes .


Scientists have used stem cells and 3D printing technology to create a synthetic steak containing muscle, fat, and blood vessels. Two types of stem cells from Wagyu cows, bovine satellite cells and adipose-derived stem cells, were used to create the man-made meat.