The Encounter Weekly: 3-10 December, 2021

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




IPOs, M&As & Investments:


Venture capital firm Lightbox Ventures announced on Tuesday that it has participated in the Series D funding round of fresh-produce distributor WayCool Foods and Products. The company is seeking up to $120 million one of the largest raise for an agritech startup to date.


The Every Company closed an oversubscribed $175 million Series C funding round, bringing the animal-free egg protein company's lifetime funding to $233 million.


Agritech startup AgroStar has raised USD 70 million (around Rs 527 crore) from Evolvence, Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise and UK's development finance institution CDC to expand its business.


NadaMoo! announces it has secured almost $10 million in a Series B round. The Austin, Texas-based pioneer of dairy-free ice cream plans to continue the expansion of distribution, focusing on increased marketing and product development

Robotic vision and intelligence maker Photoneo has raised $21 million in a Series B funding round. The capital is aimed at accelerating the development of the company’s 3D sensor technologies and enabling the expansion of its newest business unit, Brightpick.

NadaMoo! closes $10 million Series B round. New funds will go towards continued expansion of the startup’s existing line of dairy-free ice creams as well as new product development.

Grupo Bimbo is the lead investor in a Series A funding found for LiveKuna, a manufacturer of natural products made from superfood ingredients including quinoa and chia. No details were given on the amount of the funding round or how much

Grupo Bimbo contributed.

Restaurant tech startup GrubTech bags $13 million. The Series A funds will be used to build out the company’s “all-in-one” operations software for restaurants and accelerate international expansion.

London-headquartered agtech firm Gardin has raised $10.8 million in a seed funding round. The funding will be used to further develop the entire product lineup, and continue to market the technology to greenhouses and vertical farms across Europe and North America.


Mighty bags an extra £4.5 million seed plus round, bringing the total funding for the startup to £8 million. Funds are being earmarked for international expansion, alongside bringing a new precision fermentation-based plant milk to market in early 2022.


Paleo raises €2M in seed round for meat and fish proteins created through precision fermentation, the investment will fund an R&D centre, pilot plant and experience centre.

Dispatch Goods announces $3.7 million in seed funding. The round was led by Congruent Ventures and included Bread and Butter Ventures, Precursor Ventures, Incite Ventures, MCJ and Berkeley SkyDeck.


Serve Robotics, the autonomous sidewalk delivery robot spinout of Postmates (which itself was acquired by Uber), has announced a $13 million expanded seed round of funding.


Amsterdam-based Cheflix, a streaming platform that provides masterclasses from Michelin chefs and experts has just raised €2 million in a fresh round of funding, coming from a Dutch Family Fund.


Pieter Pot, the fully circular e-grocer launched in 2019 in Rotterdam, has just received a €9 million investment boost led by ETF Partners.

Singapore-based Grab has completed its merger with Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Altimeter Growth Corp

McCain Foods invested $55 million in Irish frozen plant-based food company Strong Roots, with the global potato giant taking a minority stake in the business.

REEF Technology, an operator of ghost kitchens and proximity hubs, announced it has acquired 2ndKitchen, a provider of turnkey food service to hotels, offices, buildings, and other hospitality businesses.

CNH Industrial completes its $2.1 billion acquisition of US-based precision agtech company Raven Industries and the software platform NX9 for an undisclosed sum.

British soft drinks giant A.G. Barr has announced the acquisition of a 60% stake in oat specialist MOMA Foods. The move marks the first foray into the rapidly-growing plant-based milk sector.

 

News & Trends:


Bayer and grain-marketing startup Bushel have teamed up with Amazon‘s Web Services (AWS) to launch Project Carbonview – a data-based carbon measurement tool aimed at helping farmers to better assess and report the carbon footprint of their produce across the supply chain.


Gotham Greens opens a 10-acre research farm in partnership with University of California, Davis. The facility will be used to grow greens while reducing the resources needed to do so, such as water.


Greenwashing remains a risk in the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry, according to the 2021 Global CEA Census Report from New York-based Agritecture Consulting and New Zealand ag software company WayBeyond.


Italian digital ag platforms xFarm and Farm Technologies have joined forces to form xFarm Technologies. The new company will provide a “full digital farm management platform” offering AI and IoT solutions, with 80,000 farms and 1 million hectares under management, it says.

Dutch plant-based ingredients company Fooditive Group has developed vegan casein using fermentation. Previously, the protein could only be obtained from milk.

MeaTech 3D Ltd. announces it has successfully bioprinted what it believes to be the largest cultured steak produced so far – 3.67 oz (104-grams) of cultivated real fat and muscle cells.

Oatly is building out its global manufacturing footprint "at an unprecedented pace" to address supply shortages and meet the growing demand for plant-based milk, CEO Toni Petersson said on the company's Q3 earnings call.

Aleph Farms and protein tech supplier Wacker are collaborating to develop new fermentation-based growth medium proteins, which will eliminate significant cost barriers for the mass-produced cultivated meat.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced 44 grants totalling $443 million from the Bezos Earth Fund on Monday. The new pledges bring the total amount allocated to $1.39 billion since the initiative launched in February 2020. The former Amazon CEO has committed to granting $10 billion in a decade.


New red microalgae discovered by Israeli start-up Yemoja adds ‘bloody’ juiciness to plant-based burgers and steaks, as well as cultivated meat products.

European produce supplier Greenyard aims to ramp up innovation as it works to capitalise on the growing demand for ‘healthy, low processed, plant-based food’.

PepsiCo has expanded its green tech accelerator programme in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to reach sustainable design innovators across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Motif FoodWorks, the Boston-based food technology company on a mission to make plant-based food taste better and more nutritious, announced that its debut food technology, HEMAMI™, is now commercially available for large-scale distribution to customers.

Sophie's Bionutrients, a next-generation sustainable urban food production technology company, is shaping the future of food with high moisture extrusion (HME) technology and microalgae fermentation.

CIBO, the science-based technology company that supports growers and enterprises on their journey to regenerative agriculture, and Continuum Ag, a soil health data company, have announced a partnership to offer a new program, CIBO Carbon Bridge

Curbing soil degradation is critical to the food security and ecological sustainability of the Caribbean— yet unsustainable land management practices, coupled with the pressures of climate change continue to impact soil health and threaten to rob the region of its prospects for a food secure future.


Doubling down on its sustainability commitment, the California-based craft confectioner, Tcho, is introducing all-new bars and has vowed for all of its products to be animal-free by 2023.

Digital publisher DayDayCook has announced plans to launch an accelerator program in Hong Kong. The Good Food Accelerator Program is designed to grow the food tech sector, bringing world-class products to market.

Ingredients companies have joined forces to help bring rare sugar allulose to the European and UK markets.

Canadian branded ingredient supplier CK Ingredients has announced a partnership with a Dutch developer to commercialize a protein ingredient from a novel source.

DoorDash announced it is entering the hyper-competitive ultra-quick grocery delivery market with the launch of a new DashMart location in New York City.

Demand for plant-based foods is driving huge growth in the CPG market in the USA, according to the Food Institute, citing a study that says Millennial and Gen-Z purchasers of plant-based products are primary drivers of this sector.

Scientists from the University of Lisbon have begun a project called Algae2Fish, with the aim of developing a boneless cultivated seabass fillet. The project has been made possible with funding from The Good Food Institute.

A new association called Cellular Agriculture Europe has been formed to represent the interests of the cultivated products industry. The association has just held its first General Assembly meeting, where a Board of Directors was elected.

The global plant-based meat market size is projected to reach USD 18.52 billion by 2028 expanding at a CAGR of 20.4%, according to a new report by the publisher.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is calling on food sectors to take action and manage practices that incorporate plastic, following the release of a new report on plastic contamination in agricultural land.

In a highly interesting turn of events, Beyond Meat announces Tyson Foods veterans Doug Ramsey and Bernie Adcock will be joining the company as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Supply Chain Officer, respectively.

Entrepreneur Marc Lore announces he is CEO of food tech company Wonder Group, which includes Wonder, an on-demand food truck business, and Envoy, a meal courier platform.