This week, bacteria are bringing in the big bucks.
On Monday, BioConsortia, a New Zealand-based and US-funded ag biotech company, announced it raised $15 million in a Series B. Both Khosla Ventures and Otter Capital backed the company equally in the round, and BioConsortia says that it will use the funding to accelerate its product to the commercial scale.
“There is substantial opportunity for BioConsortia to help transform agricultural production around the world,” said CEO Marcus Meadows-Smith. “It’s gratifying to win the ongoing support of sophisticated investors like Khosla Ventures and Otter Capital.”
BioConsortia has developed a unique system that uses bacteria to improve crop productivity, avoiding any sort of genetic modification of the plant. By organizing biodiverse groups of bacteria, called “consortia,” the company’s products target very specific plant-traits by simply using the right combination of microbes. So far, they have developed fertilizer substitutions, solutions to combat suboptimal climate conditions, and even pest-resistant products.
“At Khosla Ventures, we’re investing in companies that can have a systemic impact on food production around the world,” said Andrew Chung, partner at Khosla Ventures who helped incubate the company out of New Zealand with technical founder Dr. Peter Wigley. “Since providing the seed investment in the BioConsortia technology, we’ve been strong believers in the opportunity to dramatically increase agricultural production with smaller resource requirements.”
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BioConsortia says that in addition to using the funding to invest in the right resources, they want to use some of it to help build collaborative partnerships with seed, fertilizer and crop production companies.
FEATURED PHOTO: Waag Society/Flickr