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The Encounter Weekly

20- 26 August, 2022

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

IPOs, M&As & Investments:

Indian insect biotech startup Loopworm has raised $3.4 million in seed funding co-led by Indian agrifood VC Omnivore and WaterBridge Venture. The capital will be used for overall acceleration and setting up their first factory to scale-up production.

South Korea’s global agtech company Tridge announced a $37 million Series D financing round, capital that will enable it to continue to accumulate agricultural market intelligence and to expand into more international markets.

South Korea’s mycelium startup Mycel is poised for rapid expansion with the closing of its $10 million Pre-Series A funding round. The round was led by Korea Development Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea, Hyundai Motor’s Zero 1 Fund, Stone Bridge, We Ventures and Spring Camp.

Canadian crop protection startup Vive Crop Protection has closed a $26 million Series C investment round. The funding will be used to accelerate commercial deployment of its portfolio products and advance R&D and development.

Superfood nutrition brand Happy Viking, founded by tennis star Venus Williams, recently announced the completion of a $2 million investment round backed by some of the world’s top athletes.

Mojocare, an Indian health and wellness firm, has raised US$20.6 million in a series A round led by B Capital, Chiratae Ventures, Better Capital, and Surge, Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator program.

ConverseNow is back - after raising $15 million in Series A funding last year, The company has now added $10 million in what Shukla is calling a Series A1 round to expand its drive-thru ordering tech.

Lumachain, an end-to-end solution for food supply chains, announced it has raised US$19.5 million in Series A funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing investor Main Sequence.

Just Eat Takeaway NV has agreed to sell its 33% stake in iFood, a Latin American joint venture to Prosus NV. The deal will be worth €1.8 billion in cash and it will bolster Just Eat’s balance sheet though it is priced below the previous offer for the shares.

Fintech startup SageWealth has closed €500k in pre-seed funding. The Berlin-based team is aiming to blend digital financial advice, banking and investing with sustainability for ethical millennials.

Vestaron, a leader in peptide-based biological crop protection, announced the addition of $10M to its Series C fundraising, adding Grosvenor Food & AgTech as an additional investor, and bringing the total raise to $92M.

Pattern closes Series B round led by Conti Ventures, with new and existing investors including The Production Board, Valor, and Founders Fund.

Superkul, a cold chain & chiller-based last-mile delivery services startup, announced the completion of its seed funding round led by East Ventures, the leading and pioneering sector-agnostic venture capital firm in Indonesia.

Amsterdam-based Kumasi Drinks, a soft drink company that prevents food waste and fights poverty, announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount in a Seed round of funding.

Ex Qantas exec’s AI-based blockchain-based provenance startup bags $28 million. The round in Jamila Gordon’s Lumachain was led by US VC Bessemer Venture Partners as the business ramps up its US focus.

UK-based CBD brand Trip has raised $12 million in funding.The round was supported by entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors, including Maria Raga, former CEO of Depop, and Christian Angermeyer, founder of Apeiron Investment Group.


Funds & Accelerators:

A fund to support food projects that bring innovative technology solutions to the market in response to specific challenges in the agrifood sector has been announced by innovation and investment group EIT Food.


JV, Partnerships & Grants:

Square Roots and Gordon Food Service, one of the largest food distributors in North America, celebrate their largest indoor farm built to date, taking another step in their shared journey to build indoor farms together across the continent.

Global institutional investors are joining Ceres in the Valuing Water Finance Initiative, aiming to engage 72 corporate water users and polluters to act on water and drive the necessary large-scale change to protect water systems better.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $300 million investment, including with American Rescue Plan funds, in a new Organic Transition Initiative.


News & Trends:

Kevin Hart’s new fast food, plant-based restaurant chain officially opened in Los Angeles on Aug. 25 — looks to be a disrupter in the $331.4-billion-dollar industry by simply providing more choices.

Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech, has evolved its commercialization strategy and rebranded in what it describes as the ‘next logical step’ to position itself as ‘primarily a food company’. Furthermore, the company announced that it will begin developing cultured pork products from a new line of iPS porcine cells.

With the decarbonization of food an urgent global challenge, the grocery sector has a “unique opportunity” to lead the way, according to research from McKinsey and Company.

Agribusiness giant Cargill recently joined a list of high-profile corporate investors in Singapore food grading startup ProfilePrint, contributing an undisclosed sum to the latter’s recent Series A1 round.

Mezli, the world's first fully autonomous restaurant, announced its public opening after a several-year build-out at KitchenTown, a food and food tech innovation center in San Mateo, California.

Global food brand Wicked Kitchen is adding new artisan frozen pizzas and ready-to-heat meals to its expansive range of plant-based products in the US.

In a world’s first, San Francisco’s biotech company TurtleTree says that after 18 months it has developed bovine lactoferrin—a protein abundant in colostrum—using precision fermentation technology.

Consumer concerns around climate change have increased as more people around the globe experience extreme weather events, according to a consumer survey from the market researcher Mintel.


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