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The Encounter Weekly: Nov 26-Dec 3, 2021

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

IPOs, M&As & Investments:

Pan-European early-stage VC Speedinvest has just launched a new €80 million Climate and Industry Opportunity fund. The fund will primarily provide long-term support for Speedinvest’s existing sustainability-oriented startups, while also targeting selected non-portfolio startups that are accelerating European industry efforts to digitise and decarbonise.

Back To The Roots, raised $15M in Series D funding. The company intends to use the funds to accelerate product innovation and support new distribution growth.

Lucent BioSciences, a Vancouver BC-based AgTech startup focused on bringing carbon-neutral fertilizers to market, raised $4.2M in funding. Backers included Emmertech, Amathaon, SVG Ventures, WUTIF Capital, Vantec/eFund and Vancouver-based angel investors.

Aussie hospitality tech startup Mr Yum has raised a massive $89 million in Series A funding, as it gears up to launch the “Shopify for restaurants” on a global scale. The round was led by US investment firm Tiger Global.

FJDynamics, just closed a Series B round of $70 million as it advances its goal to empower workers in the harshest environment with robotic technologies.

Pepper announced $16 million in Series A funding to expand what it started two years ago as it aims to work with over 25,000 restaurants and grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Pyxo raises $7.9 million from Eurazeo, FiveSeasons Ventures, and others. The French startup is creating a network for reusable containers for restaurants and food delivery businesses.

Phoenix-Wings, a cargo drone company owned by SF Express, announced that it had completed an A round of financing for several hundred million yuan, led by strategic investors and followed by CR Capital Management, COFCO Capital, Tianqi Capital, Country Garden Venture Capital and Everest Venture Capital.

Wide Open Agriculture (WOA), an Australian company whose subsidiaries include Dirty Clean Food (DCF) and OatUP, announces it has raised $20 million to transition into plant-based production and construct a factory to initially focus on oat and then produce other varieties of plant milks.

Hooray Foods raises $2.7 million. Ex-Dunkin’ CEO David Hoffman, Lyra Growth Partners, Evolution VC Partners, Gaingels, and Sand Hill Angels participated in the round for the plant-based meat-maker.

Cannabis analytics company Headset on Tuesday announced that it raised $8.6 million in funding. That includes $3 million of venture capital from a round led by Althea, as well as the conversion of $5.6 million of bridge notes issued months ago.

Royal DSM has entered an agreement to acquire Vestkorn Milling, Tau, Norway, for €65 million ($73 million). Vestkorn is a processor of pea- and bean-derived ingredients for plant-based protein products.

NovaQuest Capital Management acquires TechAccel’s interest in Covenant Animal Health Partners. The investment in Covenant will assist NovaQuest in furthering innovation in animal health.

Riyadh-based food delivery firm Jahez, is preparing to list on the parallel market of the Saudi stock exchange in what will be the kingdom’s first initial public offering of a technology startup.


News & Trends:

Farm robotics ventures raked in a total of $491 million in investment during H1 2021, according to AgFunder data.

University of Maine researchers are trying to produce potatoes that can better withstand warming temperatures as the climate changes.

Agriculture has been a large part of this, but agriculture is not inherently the problem. Now is an important time to be asking: ‘What is regenerative agriculture?

Perfect Day, a company that makes animal-identical proteins using precision fermentation, and Natreve, a wellness and nutrition company, have partnered to produce MOOLESS, a protein powder made with animal-free whey protein.

Estonian start-up Gelatex has found a solution to scale and enhance the production of nanofibrous 3D scaffolding used in the manufacture of cell-cultured meat.

Launched in 2013, Banana Wave, with its blend of oats and real bananas, was the first plant-based milk of its kind to be released in the US market. Having expanded to include a range of flavours, including chocolate, mango and strawberry, the brand is now looking forward to further growth.

Foodtech innovator Jack & Bry has launched its plant-based range of meat alternatives into online supermarket Ocado, making vegan alternatives a more accessible reality for UK consumers.

The Kroger Co. is bringing the world's first carbon neutral eggs to retail shelves in the United States. The grocery chain has teamed with Dutch Kipster Farms, to bring the eggs to stores and e-commerce under Kroger's Simple Truth brand

FrieslandCampina Ingredients has entered the plant-based protein market with two powder solutions developed in collaboration with AGT Foods, one of the world’s largest suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods and ingredients.

Agrana Fruit is highlighting how texture in F&B is retaining its strength as a focus for innovation. The company underscores how this organoleptic property is “pushing back the boundaries of indulgence,” while sharing insights on the functionality of fruit inclusions for enhancing the eating experience with new dimensions.

In the US, inflation is now above six percent, and globally, food prices are at their highest since 2011. Climate change, energy demands and inflation are causing shortages and driving up costs in some of the poorest nations.

It's commonplace for consumers to accidentally allow foods in their refrigerator to expire before they have had a chance to eat them, so the Nudge Tags have been developed as a digital solution to this issue.

The race is on to commercialise a product that will significantly reduce methane emissions in cattle around the world, but can Australia's CSIRO beat the Dutch corporate giant DSM to the punch?

ICL opened its latest production plant in St. Louis. The company’s new alternative-protein facility will produce a plant-based meat substitute for use by food companies, food-service distributors, restaurants and grocery chains.

Food has long been the third rail in climate politics. Though agriculture makes up about 30 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, about half of which comes from animal agriculture, climate experts and politicians alike have been reticent to deliver the unpopular news that people should eat less meat

A new cooling cube that never melts could revolutionize how food is kept cooled and shipped. The innovation, called jelly ice cubes, stays cold for up to 13 hours and can be reused again - it just needs to be rinsed and placed back into a freezer.

More than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production, according to the United Nations. This has raised the pressure on large CPGs to address the issue head-on and set clear goals for minimizing their carbon footprint.

An MoU has been signed between agricultural knowledge resource CABI and NGO Rainforest Alliance to help smallholders improve farming practices.


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