Ag Industry Brief: New Fund for Coops in Developing Countries, Target Buys Shipt, Soylent CEO is Out, more

Clarmondial Wins Grant from Convergence to Launch Food Securities Fund

Clarmondial, a Swiss investment advisory company, won a Design Funding grant from Convergence, to build and launch an investment fund for private credit in agriculture. The Food Securities Fund will address the credit gap in the industry by raising capital from institutional investors and lending to agricultural aggregators like cooperatives, traders, and processors in developing countries. Read More.

Soylent Founder and CEO Steps Down

Rob Rhinehart, who founded Los Angeles-based meal-replacement company Soylent, has stepped down from his leadership role at the company after the company faced multiple recalls and regulatory turmoil. Bryan Crowley, current president at Soylent and former executive at several food companies, will replace him. Rhinehart still owns a majority share in the company will remain the executive chairman. Read more.

Swiggy Acquires 48East for Undisclosed Amount


Swiggy, an Indian food delivery platform has acquired 48East, another company in the same space for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2015, Swiggy has secured US$1.56 billion over five rounds of seed funding. 48East had raised US$750,000 in seed funding. Founders Joseph Cherian and Nabhojit Ghosh will join Swiggy’s C-level executives as a part of this acquisition deal. Read more.

Future Food Asia Partners with Mekong Business Initiative to Launch New Accelerator

A new accelerator is coming to the Asia Pacific region thanks to a partnership between Future Food Asia, a platform for agrifood tech innovations and the Mekong Business Initiative. MATCh, the Mekong Agriculture Technology Challenge Startup Accelerator, is aimed at early stage agrifood tech startups. The accelerator will also award prizes for Best Startup, Most Innovative, Biggest Social Impact, and Women’s Leadership. Read more.

Target To Acquire Shipt for $500 Million

Shortly after Walmart purchased Parcel, a same-day last-mile delivery service, Target has announced plans to acquire Shipt, an online delivery service. The move is part of an effort to expand Target’s digital presence. Half of all Target retail locations are slated to offer same-day delivery services for groceries, essentials, home, and electronics by May 2018. Same-day delivery will be available in all locations by the 2018 holiday season; an expanded catalog of eligible products is expected by 2019. Read more.

New York City Passes Urban Agriculture Bill

The New York City Council approved a bill to support urban agriculture in New York City this week. The bill provides for the creation of a digital hub to help existing and future urban farmers navigate the regulatory process of growing food in the city. “Our urban farmers are operating in an ambiguous and grey area,” said councilmember Rafael Espinal, who wrote the bill. “It is time to step up and support this with our own digital tools and acknowledge our commitment to this industry.” Read more.

TerrAvion Partners With agX Platform

The aerial imagery provider TerrAvion is now fully integrated with the agX data sharing and management platform. TerrAvion offers an imagery subscription service that delivers image data on a specified seasonal schedule. The integration with agX enables farmers to process imagery through the platform and share the collected information. Read more.

Applications Open for Best Israeli Agtech Company

The deadline is fast-approaching for the AgriVest competition in Tel Aviv. Apply by January 21st, 2018 to participate in the competition next May. Previous winners include Enzootic, an agro-biotech company, and DouxMatok, a food tech company working to reduce intake of salt and sugar. Read more.

Fish 2.0 Announces 2017 Industry Connection Prizes

Following the announcement of cash prize winners in November, the Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum awarded its Industry Connection (ICX) prizes this week. The awards are to help young companies gain market insight and exposure to leaders in the sustainable seafood space. Read more.

Winners include:

Fish Extend – The company develops products designed to extend the shelf life of fresh fish.

NovoNutrients – NovoNutrients uses food-grade bacteria to make fish food from industrial carbon emissions. 

ShellBond – ShellBond’s technology is used in oyster habitat restoration and oil cleanup and helps manage nonorganic antioxidants in salmon farms.

VakSea – the developer of a patented oral vaccine that can decrease antibiotic use in aquaculture.

American Unagi – The company grows glass eels to market size in a land-based aquaculture system.

fairagora – developers of the software Verifik8 which collects data from fisheries to help seafood buyers make safe and responsible choices.

ColomboSky Aqua-X technology monitors and forecasts water quality.

TunaSolutions – an online marketplace for the tuna industry that facilitates trading through a series of online auctions.

SmartCatch – developers of the remotely controllable oceanographic catch monitoring system DigiCatch.

Real Oyster Cult – which ships fresh oysters direct overnight.

OneForNeptune – producer of high-protein snack foods made from U.S. groundfish species and industry offcuts.

Panacea Oysters – restoring oyster farming in Apalachicola Bay through marketing strategy –

Pensacola Bay Oyster Company – an oyster farm producing for the half-shell market.

Northline Seafoods – floating processing facility manages waste and extends the shelf life of sustainable wild salmon.

Other News that’s Fit to Chew:

  • Tyson Foods and Unilever are joining Campbell Soup Co., Nestle, Dean Foods, and Mars in leaving the Grocery Manufacturers Association, according to Politico.
  • Mario Batali takes leave after accusations of sexual misconduct, reports Eater and New York restaurateur Ken Friedman faces accusations of sexual harassment, writes the New York Times.
  • According to Food Dive, food and beverage is the fastest growing online sales channel.
  • Meat might soon join carbon and sugar among products taxed in order to reduce consumption, writes Bloomberg.
  • The chicken industry relies on experts (‘sexers’) who can differentiate male and female birds in the blink of an eye, details in Pacific Standard.

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