Bear Robotics
Bear Robotics' server bots. Image credit: Bear Robotics

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Licious nets $150m, Bear Robotics raises $81m

March 17, 2022

Licious, an India e-commerce marketplace for meat, scored $150 million in Series F-plus investment this week, while California’s Bear Robotics bagged $81 million for its robot restaurant servers. Over in agtech, Local Bounti snapped up a rival greenhouse grower for $123 million – and ‘crowdfarming’ platform AcreTrader scored more than $20 million in fresh funding.


Foodtech startup funding

🇮🇳 $150 million funding for animal protein marketplace Licious. Amansa Capital, Kotak PE, and Axis Growth Avenues AIF – I led the round, an extension of the e-commerce startup’s $52 million Series F announced last year. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Bear Robotics announces $81 million Series B. IMM led the round, which brings the restaurant robotics startup’s total funding so far to $117 million. (The Spoon)

🇺🇸 Organic infant formula company Bobbie raises $50 million. Park West led the Series B round. Bobbie claims to be “the first and only infant formula made with grass-fed milk from pasture-raised cows” in the US. (Bobbie)

🇺🇸 Mori secures $50 million in ‘Series B1’ funding. The Boston-based startup has developed a process that extracts natural silk protein which can be used to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. Prelude Ventures led the round. (Mori)

🇦🇷🇺🇸 Stämm raises $17 million Series A capital. Founded in Buenos Aires and headquartered in San Francisco, Stämm is building ‘desktop’ bioreactors for use in multiple industries – including cultivated meat production. (Stämm)

🇮🇱 Alt-seafood startup Plantish closes $12.5 million seed round led by State of Mind Ventures. The company plans to scale up production of its whole-cut plant-based salmon fillets and be in restaurants by 2023. (Food Navigator)

🇺🇸 Lowercarbon Capital leads $12 million seed round for Tender Food. The startup formerly known as Boston Meats employs “cotton-candy machine” technology to make plant- and cell-based meat analogs. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Restaurant fintech platform Zitti raises $4 million. Crossbeam led the round that will grow the Zitti team and boost its tech capabilities. (Zitti)

🇭🇰 Plant-based pork maker Good Food closes HK$12 million ($1.5 million) seed round. It is lead investor Gobi Partners‘ first-ever bet on alt-protein. (Green Queen)

🇳🇱 Clear nabs 1 million ($1.3 million) funding. Agrifood VC Future Food Fund, Rabobank, and several angel investors backed the personalized nutrition app for people with diabetes. (Future Food Fund)

Stämm says its Bioprocessor “mimics nature’s use of laminar flow to downsize a whole biotech facility into an all-in-one, plug-and-play desktop unit.” Image credit: Stämm

Agtech startup funding

🇮🇱 Irrigation tech startup SupPlant raises $27 million round led by Red Dot Capital Partners. Menomadin FoundationSmart-Agro FundMivtach ShamirDeshpande Foundation, PBFS and Maor Investments also participated. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Lewis & Clark AgriFood lead $24 million Series B for IUNU. The startup makes computer vision and AI solutions for controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and will use the new funds for product development and hiring. (AFN) 

🇺🇸 Farm crowdfunding platform AcreTrader raises $20 million-plus from Drive Capital. The capital comes as an extension of AcreTrader’s Series B round, which reeled in $40 million from lead investor Anthemis Group and others in January. (AcreTrader)

🇨🇳 ‘Smart’ farm equipment startup AIForceTech secures $15 million in new funding. China Creation Ventures led the ‘Series A-plus’ round. (Nikkei Asia)

🇬🇧 Agritech AI specialist Agxio bags £2.1 million ($2.77 million) for pre-Series A round. The startup, which is backed by the Development Bank of Wales among others, said it’ll use the funding to make hires, expand, and continue developing its technology. (Agxio)

🇺🇸 Virtual fencing startup Vence lands funding from Merck & Co, Shell. Vence works with ranchers using regenerative ag practices and will scale its offering thanks to the investment. (AFN)

🇳🇱 CEA startup Future Crops raises undisclosed funding led by Chinese tech giant Tencent. New capital will be used for R&D, hiring, and building new farms, among other things. (AFN)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Ancillary cannabis grow firm Agrify raises $135 million in additional capital. The publicly-traded company, which produces hardware and software for cannabis cultivation, signed a definitive agreement to raise as much as $135 million in a debt financing deal. (MJBiz)

🇺🇸 Publicly traded greenhouse grower Local Bounti to acquire Pete’s for $123 million. California-based Pete’s operates three greenhouses that serve about 10,000 retail locations across the US and Canada. (FreshPlaza)

🇮🇳 Food delivery service Zomato and instant delivery startup Blinkit to merge. Sources familiar with the matter say the all-stock deal values Blinkit between $700 million and $750 million. (TechCrunch)

Meanwhile, Zomato acquired a 16.7% stake in robotics startup Mukunda Foods. It invested $5 million in Mukunda, which designs and manufactures robotic equipment to automate food preparation for restaurants. (Economic Times)

Other news

🇬🇧 Social impact investor AgDevCo secures $90 million in new funding from development finance institutions CDC Group, Norfund, and DFC. The capital will be used to help small and mid-size African agribusinesses with R&D, tech innovation, and sustainability initiatives. (AFN)

🇦🇺 Temasek and Equilibrium Capital invest in fresh produce business Perfection Fresh. The undisclosed sum will allow the Australian company to expand into Asia and other international markets. (Perfection Fresh)

🇿🇦 Africa’s first cell-ag startup Mzansi Meat produces cultivated beef burger. The South African company will scale production “as soon as possible” and develop additional products such as sausages, nuggets, steaks, and chicken. (IOL)

🇺🇸 Delta Airlines brings plant-based meat to in-flight menus. Passengers on select flights will be able to eat items from Impossible Foods and Black Sheep Foods, as well as some locally-sourced produce [disclosure: AFN‘s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Black Sheep Foods.] (VegNews)

🇸🇬🇩🇰 ‘World’s best restaurant’ Noma considers expansion to Asia. The famed Danish restaurant is in talks with Singapore billionaire Peter Lim to explore business opportunities around the city-state and elsewhere on the continent. (Forbes)

🇺🇸 Nature’s Fynd to debut fungal “meat” at Whole Foods stores. The company uses fermentation tech to grow its Fy protein from volcanic microbes. (Nature’s Fynd)

🇺🇸 Vertical farming firms Plenty and Bowery double-down on strawberries. Plenty is building a strawberry farm with shareholder Driscoll’s, while Bowery just released retail “tasting packs” of its strawberries. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition launch competition to find new ingredients in underutilized crops. The pair will award up to $1,375,000 for predictive crop models. (FFAR)

🌏 Coalition of cultivated meat startups form Asia-Pacific Society for Cellular Agriculture to “kick-start and harmonise” cell ag in the region. The group has 11 founding members 11 founding members from companies including Shiok Meats, CellX, DanaGreen, Aleph Farms, and Avant Meats. (Vegconomist)

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