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The Encounter Weekly

Weekly Roundup: Stay up to date with the most recent Agrifood Tech news, investments and partnerships

February 4 -10, 2023

IPOs, M&As & Investments:

Actress Anne Hathaway’s investment in food-tech startup The Every Co brings more than capital – it also brings star power that the company’s CEO says he hopes will raise consumer awareness – and acceptance – of animal-free proteins ‘brewed’ through precision fermentation.

Instant grocery delivery company JOKR raised about $50 million in a Series C investment on a $1.3 billion post-money valuation. Led by G Squared and with GGV Capital, Tiger Global Management and HV Capital participating JOKR has now raised $480 million in equity and debt since being founded in 2021.

Lisbon-based aquaponic greenhouse startup Springworks Farm has received a $22 million round of fresh funding to fuel the company’s regional expansion. The capital will fund the construction of the fourth and largest greenhouse, which adds 120,000 square feet of production area.

Plant-based seafood startup New School Foods raised a $12 million funding round. The capital will continue focusing on research and development by expanding the team of food scientists, scaling up its scaffolding technology, and building out a research and production facility.

Plant-based chicken nugget maker Rebellyous Foods raised a $9.5 million equity round to build its production technology. The Seattle-based manufacturer plans to use the funds to continue deploying its custom-designed equipment to make its products and reach price parity.

Fourth generation farmer and founder of the upcycled dried fruit snack producer The Ugly Company’s gamble to buy and retrofit an old dehydrating facility against early investors’ advice and despite limited cash and notable debt is now paying off after securing $9m in series A funding to scale production and meet surging demand.

Australian meat alternative startup Fable Food Co has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding led by K3 Ventures. Fable Food will use the funding to accelerate the research, development, expansion, and launch its products.

Denmark-based Reshape Biotech raised $8.1M in funding. The company intends to use the funds to expand its product offerings and team.

Precision fermentation food ingredient startup Michroma has closed a $6.4 million seed round. The capital will fast-track the company's commercialization of sustainable natural colorants, expand research and development capabilities, and broaden Michroma's ingredient platform.

Greek startup Wikifarmer is transforming agriculture. The direct farmer-to-business marketplace, which gives farmers access to fair business opportunities and educational tools, just secured €5 million.

Climate tech innovator Kelpi has secured more than £3 million in funding to advance its pioneering technology of creating sustainable packaging from seaweed. Kelpi will use the funds to conduct manufacturing pilots for their proprietary coatings for paper and card.

Estonian precision fermentation start-up ÄIO has raised €1 million to develop alternative oils and fats for the food industry. The company will use the funding to increase its production capacity, test products with the food industry, and apply for novel food permits to enter the European market.

Vietnam-based agtech startup Koina has raised US$1 million as part of its seed extension round from VinaCapital, the technology investment vehicle of VinaCapital Group.

The new funding will be used to expand Koina’s sales channels so that the startup can absorb more volume from farmers and invest in technologies.

Netherlands-based restaurant tech startup Orderli has raised €875K in a fresh round of funding from new and existing investors. The funds will be used to expand its workforce and continue to develop its app.

UK plant-based brand Tiba Tempeh announces it has received an undisclosed investment from Samworth Brothers to support growth in the UK and other European markets. The partnership will support Tiba Tempeh’s product innovation and marketing strategies, such as brand and consumer awareness.

Israel’s agtech leader CropX Technologies, has announced its acquisition of California’s Tule Technologies. This acquisition brings new data capture technologies to the CropX Agronomic Farm Management System and expands its market in California drip-irrigated specialty crops.


News & Trends:

Shanghai-based cellular agriculture company CellX and food manufacturing specialists Tofflon have signed a strategic partnership agreement to develop the first cultivated meat pilot plant in mainland China.

The German discount supermarket chain Lidl has revealed plans to pursue a more sustainable business strategy to 2025, with a focus on reducing the number of animal-based products in its offering and increasing its range of vegetable proteins.

Kroger is expanding its partnership with indoor farming company Gotham Greens to supply produce and supply its other products to thousands of its stores by the end of 2023. This partnership comes as Kroger continues to further its sustainability efforts and vertical farming becomes more mainstream within the industry.

Motif FoodWorks will be offering its fermentation and bioprocessing services to companies looking to scale up. It will work with startups at bench scale — large enough to make a small amount for testing and prototyping purposes.

Manufacturers of plant-based seafood need to ensure they get the sensory experience right if the sector hopes to reach the scope and consumer acceptance that other plant-based meat alternatives have achieved, according to Thai Union.

Austria has decided to mobilize satellite technology to check in detail whether farms are meeting the conditions for receiving billions in EU agriculture subsidies, a task which is often very complex and costly for national authorities.


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