The Encounter Weekly

January 15th-21, 2022


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




IPOs, M&As & Investments:


Agritech startup WayCool Foods that has racked up $117 million in an ongoing Series D funding will use the funds to boost its “deeptech” and automation capabilities.


South Korean Green Labs, a agtech startup, announced it has closed a $140 million Series C round. The agtech startup now plans to expedite its global expansion, make acquisitions and increase its headcount.


Agri-tech firm Arya has raised $60 million in a mix of equity and debt round. While the equity round was led by Asia Impact SA, Lightrock India and Quona Capital, the debt component came from US International Development Finance Corporation, besides other investors.


Led by the Valor Capital Group Brazil’s startup Agrolend has raised a series A $21 million round for its farmer-focused fintech platform.

UK’s vertical farming scale-up Vertical Future secures £21m in Europe’s largest Series A raise in the sector.

Japanese startup IntegriCulture raises an additional $7 million in Series A-plus funding. Their aim is to create a “universally accessible cellular agriculture platform” and lower cost for cell ag applications.


Aigen, a startup developing solar-powered robots for weed control and soil regeneration, has raised $4 million in venture capital. The seed round was led by NEA with participation from AgFunder, Global Founders Capital and ReGen Ventures.

E-commerce agriculture platform Mio raises $8 million and plans to expand the operation of its distribution center and supply chain.


Tenacious Ventures has backed agtech and fintech startup Geora in a $1.5 million seed round joining NAB Ventures and Flying Fox Ventures.

Emmertech announced the final close of a C$60m (US$48m) fund that aims to fuel innovations and drive agtech solutions across Canada.

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Natalie Portman’s backed startup La Vie, formerly known as 77 Foods, has announced a successful Series A funding round totalling €25 million. This veggie bacon maker is the largest single alternative protein raise for a French food tech company to date.


Faeth Therapeutics, a healthcare company developing machine learning-driven precision nutrition solutions and treatment regimens to enhance cancer therapy, announced the closing of a $20M seed financing


Turing Labs raised $16.5 million in funding. The investment will be used to accelerate R&D, grow the engineering team, widen operations and further build a go-to-market organization.


Chilean AI alt meat startup The Live Green Co closed a $7 million round to help support expansion. The Pre-Series A investment is earmarked for U.S.headquarters creation and continued AI development.

VFC closes £7.5 million ($10.2 million) seed round. The vegan fried ‘chicken’ brand will use the funds to fuel its international expansion and R&D capabilities.

Millennium Food-Tech announced that it has led a $10 million financing round in Israeli supermarket checkout scanning systems developer Supersmart.

Chilean AI alt meat startup The Live Green Co has successfully closed a $7 million funding round to help support its expansion.

Castiron, an e-commerce solution for independent chefs, announced a $6 million seed funding round from Bowery Capital, Foundry Group and High Alpha.


Fresh produce food-tech venture, Pluckk raises $5 million in seed round. Funding will be used to build the team, technology, farm to fork infrastructure, customer acquisition and expansion into key metro cities.


UK fruit lager company Jubel has announced that it has raised £2.7 million in an investment round to support its expansion.


Mamamade, a direct-to-consumer brand specialising in infant and toddler nutrition, successfully closed a record-breaking round, bringing their total pre seed investment amount totalling £1.5m.

OMNI, the UK’s first vet-backed plant-based food company for dogs, has raised €1.3 million to fuel its expansion.


West African food brand Yolélé has received $1.98 million in funding for its new venture, West African Ancient Grains. The aim is to build a traceable supply chain for fonio, a drought-tolerant, nutrient-dense ancient grain that is considered a neglected and underutilized crop.

Nigerian food-tech startup Orda, raised a pre-seed round capital of $1.1 million to expand its operations to South Africa and scale up financial products.


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Puratos has announced the acquisition of Profimix, a Czech supplier of improvers, bakery mixes and confectionery.

Agritech startup DeHaat acquired B2B agri-input marketplace startup, Helicrofter. This is the startup's third acquisition after FarmGuide and Vezamart.

Agro analytics platform AgroScout has acquired the assets of TerrAvion. Current clients will have access to a combination of aerial and satellite imagery products and precision agriculture services for their fields.

Korean food startup KPOP Foods announced its acquisition by Wooltari USA, a leading retail and online grocer for Korean food products in the USA.


 

News & Trends:


Hazel Technologies was awarded new USDA funds to support large scale testing of the technology under both academic and commercial supply chain conditions.


Infarm, the world’s largest cloud-connected farming network, announced a new retail partnership with Crisp, the fastest-growing online supermarket covering the Netherlands.


Brooklyn-based Upward Farms this week unveiled plans to launch a massive 250,000-square-foot vertical farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County.

Pioneering cell-based player Mosa Meat has published a peer-reviewed paper revealing how it achieves muscle differentiation in cultured meat without the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS) and without genetically modifying the cells in any way.

Innova Market Insights unveils a report revealing that personal health, the environment and overall sustainability particularly in F&B are its top trends of 2022.

Kazoo Snacks presents a new, water-saving tortilla chip brand upcycles corn germ to save 20 gallons of water per bag of chips.

The Kroger Co. has identified 10 food trends that will accelerate and take hold in 2022. The trends may be broken down into three categories: flavors, premiumization and behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic.

Food heavyweight Tnuva has partnered with cell production firm Pluristem to bring cultured food,starting with a raw meat product, to the masses.

John Deere selects the following seven companies for its 2022 startup collaborator program: Burro Robotics, Crop.Zone Four Growers, SeeDevice, Ucropit.ViewAR. Yard Stick.

Daily Harvest announced today a multi-year partnership with American Farmland Trust (AFT) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) to support historically underserved farming communities in California.

FoodDive’s story on why fermentation is stealing the spotlight in 2022 fully describes the increasing conversation of this upward trend in the food innovation space.

Dutch startup OpenDairy has launched an online marketplace to allow direct transactions between dairy buyers and sellers without the need for a trader.


2022 trend predictions for the global alternative protein industry are looking even more wild. The raises are getting bigger, the launches are getting bolder, the plant-based meat is getting real-er.


DouxMatok partners with Blommer Chocolate Company to offer the US market healthier options, beginning with a chocolate-flavored chip with 50% less sugar.


In a first-of-its-kind study, a University of Illinois research team put hyperspectral sensors on planes to quickly and accurately detect nitrogen status and photosynthetic capacity in corn.


Partnering with AWS, Cropin has developed a range of comprehensive solutions to digitise their operations from farm to fork and leverage near real-time farm data to build predictive intelligence and actionable insights to make effective decisions.


The future of meat: somewhere between regenerative and alternative, each product has its own benefits, challenges and impacts.


With Veganuary success a new platform called Regenuary launches with the aim to get people thinking more about how their food is produced.


Starbucks Corp. is expanding its delivery services in China by entering into a new partnership with food delivery giant Meituan


The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is collaborating with Honeywell to further develop commercial carbon recapture technologies.

The Good Food Institute has determined that China’s alternative protein sector is being increasingly better funded demonstrating a rise in sector interest.


The following four Polish foodtech startups were awarded a grant from the Carrefour Foundation: Food Jack, KuMin.Sys, Nielone, and Yoush.


After becoming a focused health, nutrition, and bioscience company, 'Royal DSM' has announced the creation of its 'Royal DSM Food & Beverage' business group.


Research into the gene editing of plants in the UK will become easier with new rules brought forward by the government that will encourage field trials and other development efforts.


Plant-based investment interest is high among large CPG players, but valuations, deal sizes are dropping. As demand for plant-based products rises, one market analyst predicts that the checks they will cut and stakes they will take in will become smaller.