Agtech Veteran Cultivian Sandbox Leads Agrivida’s $23M Series D

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Animal nutrition biotech company Agrivida has raised $23 million in Series D funding from a range of heavyweight venture capital firms. The round, which first closed in January on $12 million, has now completed ahead of its $20 million target.

Agrivida is creating a range of animal nutrition products aimed at improving the digestibility and efficiency of feed for cows, chickens and other animals. The feed additives are produced from plant enzymes to replace the enzymes produced by industrial fermentation that currently dominate the market.

Cultivian Sandbox Ventures led the round which involved ARCH Venture PartnersBright CapitalDAG VenturesGentry Venture, PartnersKleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersMaschhoff Family FoodsMiddleland CapitalNorthgate Capital and Prairie Gold.

Cultivian Sandbox, Middleland Capital and ARCH Venture Partners were among the new investors in the round. Syngenta Ventures, an investor in the company’s 2012 $15 million Series C, did not participate in this round.

This round of funding will help the company advance product development and strategic commercial partnerships ahead of the targeted commercialization of its GraINzyme platform of products for monogastric animals, such as chickens, and ruminant animals, such as cows, in 2016.

“We are very excited about our opportunity to transform the animal nutrition feed additive segment using Agrivida products that will offer dramatically improved cost performance, while simplifying the production and delivery of very unique enzyme solutions,” Dan Meagher, chief executive of Agrivida told AgFunderNews. “We have a very unique and secure IP position that allows us to use the corn plant at our factory and combined with our proprietary technology, we aim to create a compelling value proposition to the producers of meat, milk and eggs to help address the growing global demand for food.”

For Cultivian Sandbox, Agrivida covered all bases, said Ron Meeusen, managing director at the VC.

“In Agrivida we found all the elements we seek in high return opportunities for our investors: a proven technology, large profitable and growing markets, a cost of goods advantage untouchable by any of the current fermentation-based enzyme suppliers, and a management team with all the right skills to drive the business,” he told AgFunderNews.

While animal nutrition is the company’s main focus — it is developing another platform of products for ruminant animals — the biotech innovation company also has other technologies in the pipeline targeting the fuel and industrial enzyme sector. But these technologies have been shelved until the successful introduction of the animal nutrition products to the market, said Meagher.

The company’s venture capital investors have played a role in this strategic development, according to Meagher.

“I am excited about the breadth of knowledge and networking that our new investors have brought to the team to compliment a strong core of initial investors,” he said. “The value has already paid dividends as they have been instrumental in our strategic discussions about our commercial strategy to the market, the potential partner opportunities facing our company and have provided direction and experience relating to decisions centered on our ultimate goal of building a great company.”

Is an initial public offering and listing the company’s end goal?

“There certainly is the ultimate goal to build a great company and we have an action plan and timeline where accomplishing specific milestones would trigger potential events that could be IPO or acquisition driven,” said Meagher.



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