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The Week in Agrifoodtech: India leads as AgroStar, Ola, WayCool & Samhitha score funding

December 9, 2021

Online farmer marketplace Agrostar scored $70 million while delivery and transport app Ola bagged $139 million as Indian startups led in the agrifoodtech funding stakes this past week. Elsewhere, the US’s Serve Robotics raised $13 million for its food-handling automatons, while European alt-protein players including Paleo, Mighty, and Gelatex also landed investment.


Agtech startup funding

🇮🇳 AgroStar raises $70 million to expand its online farmer marketplace across India. Evolvence, Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise, and the UK’s development finance institution CDC participated in the Pune-based startup’s Series D round. (Business Standard

🇬🇧 Gardin closes $10.8 million seed round. The startup uses remote optical sensors and machine-learning tech to deliver insights on individual crops. The fund will be used to market its solution to greenhouses and vertical farms. (Tech.eu)

🇮🇳 Lightbox Ventures contributes to fresh produce distributor WayCool‘s Series D round. While the exact amount is undisclosed, the VC firm said it has invested a total of $35.4 million in WayCool to date. (VCCircle

🇮🇳 Precision ag startup Samhitha raises $1.5 million in seed funding. It’ll use the capital to grow its team and onboard more agronomy advisors. TechStar Group led the round. (Krishi Jagran)

Foodtech startup funding

🇺🇸 The EVERY Company raises $175 million to brew animal-free proteins at scale. The precision fermentation startup formerly known as Clara Foods will use the new funds to scale production of its animal-free ingredients, such as egg protein. (AFN)

🇮🇳 Ola nets $139 million funding at $7.3 billion valuation. The ride-hailing, food delivery, and financial services app also acquired geospatial tech provider GeoSpec for ₹260 million ($3.44 million). Edelweiss led the round. (The Economic Times)

🇺🇸 Serve Robotics closes $13 million funding round from Uber, Delivery Hero’s DX Ventures, and 7-Eleven’s 7-Ventures. The robo-delivery company, spun out of Uber-owned Postmates, will use the funding to grow its geographic reach and expand its product line. (Restaurant Dive)

🇬🇧 Alt-dairy brand Mighty raises £4.5 million ($6 million) in seed funding to expand internationally. Mighty also plans to bring a precision-fermentated milk to market in 2022. (Green Queen)

🇺🇸 Dispatch Goods announces $3.7 million in seed funding to boost reusable container infrastructure for restaurants. Dispatch plans to invest the new funding into geographic expansion and more restaurant partnerships, among other things. (TechCrunch)

🇳🇱 Paleo raises €2 million ($2.2 million) in seed funding for fermented fish and meat analogs. The company is now preparing a €40 million ($45 million) Series A round. This seed round will fund a R&D center and pilot plant. (Vegconomist)

🇪🇪 Gelatex Technologies secures €1.2 million ($1.4 million) in seed funding. Estonian startup Gelatex will continue to invest in development of its plant-based polymer scaffolds for cultivated meat, which could prove up to 90% cheaper than other scaffolding alternatives, according to the company. (Food Navigator)

🇸🇰 Robotic vision and intelligence company Photoneo raises $21 million in Series B round. Capital will go towards expanding the company’s Brightpick unit that offers automated fulfillment solutions for warehouses and dark stores. (Tech.eu

🇦🇪 Dubai-based restaurant tech startup GrubTech bags $13 million. The Series A funds will be used to build out GrubTech’s “all-in-one” operations software for restaurants and accelerate international expansion. (Wamda)

🇳🇱 Circular economy e-grocer Pieter Pot scores €9 million ($10.2 million). ETF Partners led the round, the proceeds of which will be invested in the startup’s technology and infrastructure for zero-waste online grocery. (Forbes)

🇺🇸 NadaMoo! closes $10 million Series B round. New funds will go towards continued expansion of the startup’s existing line of dairy-free ice creams as well as new product development. (NadaMoo!)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇸🇬 Food delivery app Grab raises $4.5 billion following record-breaking SPAC deal. The Singapore-based firm’s merger with Nasdaq-listed Altimeter Growth Corp is the world’s largest SPAC transaction to date. (AFN)

🇺🇸🇮🇹 CNH Industrial completes its $2.1 billion acquisition of US-based precision agtech company Raven Industries. The first in-house products featuring fully integrated Raven precision agriculture systems will be available in 2022. (AFN)

The tractor maker has also purchased software platform NX9 for an undisclosed sum. NX9 uses standardized protocol ISOBUS that enables data-sharing between internet-connected agricultural and forestry equipment. (AFN)

🇮🇹 xFarm & Farm Technologies merge to become “Spotify of agtech.” The digital ag companies will provide a “full digital farm management platform” offering AI and IoT solutions, with 80,000 farms and 1 million hectares under management. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Reef acquires virtual kitchen startup 2nd Kitchen for an undisclosed sum. The latter lets hotels and other hospitality businesses serve food without an onsite kitchen, and will boost Reef’s presence in the non-restaurant hospitality sector. (Restaurant Dive

Funds & accelerators

🇫🇷🇲🇹 Edmond de Rothschild partners with agrifoodtech firm PeakBridge VC. The partnership will back early-stage foodtech startups with a particular emphasis on nutrition and sustainable food production. (The Wall Street Journal)

🇨🇦 Women-focused investor The51 launches C$25 million ($19.7 million) agrifoodtech fund. The Calgary-based firm has hired Alison Sunstrum, previously of Builders VC and GrowSafe Systems, as a general partner and former Pangaea Ventures and UN Development Program exec Kookai Chaimahawong to run the new vehicle. (BetaKit)

Other news

🇺🇸 Upside Foods, BlueNalu, and other alt-protein companies weigh in on what to call cultivated meat. The US Department of Agriculture is reviewing public comments submitted in response to its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking around the labeling of cell-cultured meat. (Food Navigator)

🇺🇸 Reducing waste of meats, cereals, and fresh produce would have the biggest environmental impact. New research from the US Environmental Protection Agency says it is “essential” to try to half the nation’s food waste by 2030 despite ongoing struggles to make progress. (Food Dive)

🇮🇱 MeaTech 3D prints “the largest cultured steak produced to date.” The Israeli company says it has successfully bio-printed a 3.67 ounce (104 gram) beef steak, primarily composed of cultivated real fat and muscle cells and without using any soy or pea protein as filler. (MeaTech 3D)

🇺🇸 Gotham Greens opens a 10-acre research farm in partnership with University of California, Davis. The Golden State facility will be used to grow greens while reducing the resources needed to do so, such as water. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Motif FoodWorks unveils Hemami, a yeast-derived heme protein for meat alternatives. The ingredient has been  granted ‘generally recognized as safe ‘status by the US Food and Drug Administration. (Food Business News)

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