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
AgFunder Co-Investment Fund III is now open for investment. Closing June 15, Spots are limited.
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 system. iUNU’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.