Join the Newsletter

Stay up-to date with food+ag+climate tech and investment trends, and industry-leading news and analysis, globally.

Subscribe to receive the AFN & AgFunder
newsletter each week.

Ag Industry Brief: Barilla Launches Venture Fund, Inventory Robots Are Coming to Walmart, Whole Foods Gets New Boss, more

November 17, 2017

Barilla Launches Venture Fund and Innovation Hub

Barilla, the family-owned company best known for its signature blue pasta box, has announced a new food-focused venture fund and accelerator, Blu1877. Part investment fund and part innovation hub, the initiative will provide seed investments for food entrepreneurs with an eye toward sustainability, focusing on products related to the Barilla brand. Read more here

Bossa Nova Robotics Raises $17.5m, Partners with Walmart to  Develop Retail Robots

Bossa Nova Robotics has raised $17.5 million Series B round to expand its retail inventory management robots. The round was led by Paxion Capital and also includes Intel Capital,  Cota Capital, Lucas Venture Group, and WRV Capital. The startup has also entered into a new partnership with Walmart. Bossa Nova robots scan shelves in order to count inventory and find misplaced items while dodging obstacles like stray shopping carts. Read more here

New Map Details Global Croplands With an Eye Towards Food and Water Security

The Global Food Supply Analysis-Support Data at 30 Meters Project, a NASA-funded project to provide high-resolution global cropland data, has released a new map detailing usage patterns of global croplands that shows croplands in any country down to the village level. According to the project, 15-20% of all land on earth is under cultivation, with India leading in net cropland area. Researchers hope the massive dataset will help to prioritize the sustainability of global food and water security. See the map here

iUNU Adds Rail Network and Autonomous Cameras to its Greenhouse Tech

Following the launch of iUNU’s LUNA greenhouse management platform, the Seattle-based greenhouse software company has launched the Luna rail network and autonomous camera systemiUNU’s greenhouse software platform “Luna” uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to continuously build detailed models of plants to monitor the health and progress of flowers, leafy greens, and succulents. The new tool begins to observe and catalog data points the moment cameras and sensors are turned on, giving growers historical records of every detail of every plant in the system. Read more here

Former General Mills Executive Joins Canadian Startup as Advisor

Jim Kirkwood, who led General Mills’ research and development efforts into disruptive technologies, has joined the advisory board of Noblegen, Inc. The Ontario-based company develops proteins and oils for the healthy living industry. Read more here

TSC Partners with Walmart Foundation to Improve Data on Sustainable Farming

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) has received a $375,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to make it easier for farmers to report information about farm sustainability to manufacturers and retailers. Both organizations hope to increase the demand signal for sustainable farming practices and improve data flow. Read more here

Amazon Consolidates Fast-Delivery Retail Operations Under Steve Kessel

Veteran Amazon executive Steve Kessel now oversees all brick-and-mortar stores and fast-delivery operations at Amazon, including Whole Foods Market, Amazon Books, Amazon Fresh, and Prime Now. ‘Over time, you’ll see more cooperation and working together between AmazonFresh, Prime Now and Whole Foods as we can explore different ways to serve the customer,’ said Brian Olsavsky, senior vice president and CFO of Amazon. Read more here

Pearse Lyons Accelerator Calls For Second Cohort

Irish animal nutrition and health company Alltech is accepting applications for the second cohort to participate in The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, a global agtech accelerator backed by Irish entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons. The three-month program will be hosted at Dogpatch Labs in Dublin and will conclude on the main stage at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where startups will have the opportunity to present to more than 4,000 attendees.

The deadline for applications is Dec. 22, 2017. Apply here.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • Italy is now home to the world’s first food-focused theme park—built, of course, by Eataly reports Eater.
  • West Virginians think former mines could be future sites of production for high-end, niche crops according to VOA.
  • NPR’s The Salt explains why Waygu beef smells so good. 
  • In Colombia, the pushback against soda taxes has reached new heights says The New York Times.

Join the Newsletter

Get the latest news & research from AFN and AgFunder in your inbox.

Join the Newsletter
Get the latest news and research from AFN & AgFunder in your inbox.

Follow us:

AgFunder Research
Join Newsletter