In a groundbreaking move that could redefine sustainable agriculture, Toopi Organics, a French biotechnology startup, has secured €16 million ($17 million) in a Series A financing round. The company specializes in developing plant biostimulants derived from the fermentation of human urine. The fresh capital will be channeled into expanding the company's unique urine collection network, launching three new urine-based products in the European Union, and establishing two industrial sites in France and Belgium. The ambitious goal is to reach a transformation capacity exceeding 2 million liters of urine per year by 2027.
The financing round was led by VisVires New Protein, a global fund committed to supporting transformative solutions in the agri-food system. Other participants included European impact funds Edaphon, Noshaq, and MAIF Impact, as well as BNP Paribas Développement and existing investors like IRDI, JOHES, and MakeSense. In addition to €11 million in equity, Toopi Organics also secured €5 million in non-dilutive funding, including a €3.8 million impact grant from the French government and a €1.1 million grant from Bpifrance.
Toopi Organics aims to deploy its range of urine-based biostimulants across 600,000 hectares of crops in Europe by 2027. The company's first product, Lactopi Start, has undergone over 40 agronomic trials and is now approved for use in organic agriculture. It offers a sustainable alternative to phosphate fertilizers, helping to reduce the EU's dependence on such imports. For farmers, this means preserved yields, reduced fertilization costs, and a lower carbon footprint. The product has already received positive field results in Belgium, setting the stage for its upcoming distribution campaign in France.
The company has also made strides in establishing a unique human urine collection network in France, partnering with major players like Vinci Highways for motorway rest areas and WC Loc for music festivals. The financing round marks a significant transition for Toopi Organics, from a startup to a scale-up, with milestones in industrialization, market adoption, and environmental impact.
The timing couldn't be more critical. The recent war in Ukraine led to unprecedented fertilizer shortages, causing prices to skyrocket by up to 300%. Coupled with water restrictions due to droughts, the need for sustainable and resilient farming models has never been more urgent. Toopi Organics' technology offers a viable economic model for human urine upcycling in agriculture, providing a solution that is both sustainable and economically feasible.
Toopi Organics' recent fundraising and ambitious plans offer a compelling case study in innovation and sustainability. The company is not just solving immediate problems but is also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and resilient agricultural model for the future.