The Encounter Weekly: 5-12 November, 2021

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




IPOs, M&As & Investments:


H2O.ai — a startup that has developed an open-source framework as well as proprietary apps that make it easier for any kind of enterprise to build and operate artificial intelligence-based services — has raised $100 million to fuel its growth, a round of funding that values H2O.ai at $1.7 billion post-money ($1.6 billion pre-money).


Israeli venture capital fund Firstime Ventures has launched a $100 million fund dedicated to sustainable investments. The announcement came on the opening day of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.


Crop protection start-up Ascribe Bioscience has raised a $2.5M Seed Round. The investment will enable Ascribe to accelerate commercial development of their lead product Phytalix: an environmentally-friendly, broad spectrum biopesticide based on a naturally-occurring small molecule from the soil microbiome.


Nuritas, a biotechnology company revolutionizing the discovery and development of plant-based bioactive peptides, has closed a $45 million USD Series B funding round. The investment was led by Chicago-based Cleveland Avenue, LLC


Motatos, the Swedish-based D2C e-commerce business tackling global food waste, has announced Tuesday a raise of €24 million, in a round led by Blume Equity with support from existing investors.


Scottish ag tech business Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) has raised £42.2m in funding. According to CEO David Farquhar, the successful Series B funding round demonstrates the potential of IGS’s ‘transformational technology’.


FloWaste announced Monday that it has raised a $1.1 pre-seed funding round, which it will use to scale up and improve its technology. Last week, The Spoon got on Zoom with company founder and CEO Rian Mc Donnell to find out how FloWaste can help food producers send less food to landfills.


Feel Foods has announced a deal to acquire British Columbia-based vegan food company Plantastic. A specialist in plant-based cheesecake and burgers, Plantastic prides itself on putting community health and wellness at the forefront of its product development.

Eden Farm raised USD 19 million in a Series A round led by AppWorks and AC Ventures. Other participating investors in the round include Trihill Capital, OCBC Ventures, Investible, Corin Capital, as well as an existing backer, Global Founders Capital.

Oja, a London-based startup that’s just scored a $3.4 million pre-seed round, led by LocalGlobal, to build what it’s billing as the first online supermarket targeting the country’s growing cultural communities.

Singapore-based TreeDots, announced that it has raised an $11 million Series A led by Amasia and East Ventures, with participation from investors including Active Fund, Seeds Capital, author Nir Eyal and actress Fiona Xie.

Vietnam’s Tiki raises $258m in AIA-led round after e-grocery business grows 2,000%


Akua, the startup behind the kelp-based vegan burger, is set to expand its plant-based range with crab cakes and ground meat after securing $3.2 million in a seed funding round. The New York-based food tech will also be using the funds to grow its team and marketing as it looks to capture the clean label and whole foods trend.


Impossible Foods is reportedly looking to raise $500 million in a new funding round that would bring its valuation to $7 billion. The reports come as the Silicon Valley food tech’s founder and CEO Pat Brown made clear the firm’s intentions to go public soon, describing an IPO as “inevitable” in a Bloomberg interview.


SUNT, an Amsterdam-based startup that makes food products from discarded bananas, announced that it has secured €1.1M in funding from Brave New Food (BNF) Investments, DOEN Participaties, and Rabobank.


US anaerobic digester company Bioenergy DevCo has raised $100 million in funding from Austin, Texas-based alternative asset manager Irradiant Partners.


South Korean biotech company Advanced Protein Technologies (APTech), has secured a new funding round totaling €15 million for its development of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). The funding included backing from French ingredient giant Roquette’s investment arm.


Signos, a weight-loss start-up, is betting that you’re curious enough about the difference between our respective metabolisms to sign up for real-time glucose monitoring and alerts to keep you in shape. It turns out that GV believes that, too, to the tune of leading the company’s $13 million Series A round.


Luya Foods, the Swiss startup turning tofu waste into vegan meat, has raised seed funding to enter the retail market. It also plans to use the capital to scale production and ramp up R&D, after having initially debuted its natural plant-based chunks and burger patties in foodservice.


US on-demand delivery company DoorDash has agreed to acquire Finnish counterpart Wolt in an all-stock transaction worth €7 billion ($8.1 billion)


REEF, an operator of delivery kitchens, logistics and proximity hubs in North America, has acquired Dubai-based iKcon Restaurant LLC, marking Reef's first major transaction in the MENA market.


 

News & Trends:


Protests erupt over climate change in Glasgow, mere blocks from the U.N. Climate Summit. Demonstrators say the climate is in crisis, and they want more action from the government. Roxana Saberi reports.

A Japanese start-up has designed this floating marine farm called Green Ocean using agricultural technology that cultivates seawater as a direct nutrient source. The innovative structure combines salt-resistant technology and sea-friendly architecture to the world a potential solution for the climate change-induced rising sea level problem which comes with heavy salt damage.

As The Real Good Food Company first began trading on the Nasdaq Friday morning, Executive Chairman Bryan Freeman said the day was shaping up to be a whirlwind — a good one.

With prominent players like Swiggy Instamart, Dunzo, etc., in the grocery delivery space, Mumbai startup Zepto, founded by two 19-years-old Stanford dropouts, claims to see 200 percent monthly growth, with a retention rate of 78 percent.

McDonald’s USA has joined AgMission, a global platform enabling collaboration between farmer associations, corporates, researchers, and other stakeholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

A new study from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates that the supply chain is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global food systems, outpacing agricultural activity and land use changes.

Fairown, founded in 2018, is on a mission to empower more brands to shift from a linear to a circular economy, and in doing so put sustainability as a core part of business models. The young company bootstrapped to €1.2 million revenue, becoming profitable and has been expanding across eight countries independently.


In Goodiebox’ last fiscal year, spanning between June 1st 2020 and May 31st 2021, the company’s revenue increased by 55%, from €25.5 to 40 million – a total increase of more than €14 million.


To meet growing customer demand for specialty fats, Cargill has begun construction on a RM 145 million (US$35 million) expansion of its production facility in Port Klang, Malaysia.

Agricultural expansion drives almost 90% of global deforestation – an impact much more significant than previously thought, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has revealed, as part of its Global Remote Sensing Survey.

Kerry has revealed its Botanicals Collection Zero 2.0, pegged by the company as an enhanced next-generation range of high-quality, authentic botanical extracts – containing 0% ethanol – designed specifically for the global rapid-growth low- and no-alcohol beverage arena.

Australian alt-meat brand v2food has expanded into China, announcing strategic partnerships with three major Chinese food manufacturers and a food content service platform.

Israeli cultivated meat company Aleph Farms has revealed a roadmap for cutting its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2025. The plan was developed in collaboration with Christensen Global Strategies.

The Philippines assured that it supports the goals of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C), a United Arab Emirates-United States (UAE-U.S.) initiative launched at the ongoing 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

In honor of HelloFresh’s 10 year anniversary, HelloFresh, the world’s leading meal kit company, released last week a Food Trends & Innovation Report to uncover how food selection, cooking habits, and eating preferences have changed over the last decade, and how consumers anticipate their habits will continue to evolve. This global report surveyed 11,500 respondents across 16 countries.

In its analysis, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) maintains that the food supply chain in many countries is on course to overtake farming and land use as the largest contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the agri-food system.

Greenleaf Foods, SPC, owner of leading plant-based brand Field Roast™ (“Field Roast”), announced Monday the debut of the Field Roast Classic Style Sausage, Egg & Cheese Plant-Based Breakfast Sandwich, a restaurant-quality plant-based breakfast innovation developed in collaboration with the California-based food technology company Eat Just .

Israeli start-up Torr Foodtech is replacing sugar binders with mechanical pressure and ultrasonic energy to ‘weld’ natural ingredients together in snacks.

Inside the lab of the Bay Area-based startup Sway, a sample of a thin piece of transparent material looks like the plastic typically used in shopping bags and wrappers. Another sample, green and speckled, reveals what the material is actually made from: seaweed, not the fossil fuels that are usually used in plastic production.

Two U.S.-based researchers have taken the idea of biological plastic recycling a step further. Not only are they using microorganisms to break down plastics; they’ve created a bio-based process that turns plastic waste into edible protein powder.

Agri-tech start-up CarobWay, has teamed up with Israel’s oldest environmental arm, the Jewish National Fund, to initiate a nationwide research initiative for carob trees

The UK Food Standards Agency Chief Scientist Robin May says urgent progress is needed on a unified eco-labelling system so that the food system can be set on a path to sustainability.

The microbiome is the collective genetic material of all the microorganisms that inhabit an environment, like the human gut or a particular soil. Eagle Genomics, an England-based company, is developing a platform that uses data about that genetic material to drive innovation.

French plant-based ingredients specialist Roquette is to open what it claims to be the world’s largest pea protein plant in Canada. Together with its plant in France, the company aims to achieve unrivaled pea protein production on both sides of the Atlantic and consolidate its position as a key player in the current global food revolution.