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Plant-based salmon from Current Foods. Image credit: Current Foods

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Eclipse scoops $40m for animal-free ice cream, Current Foods nets $18m

June 30, 2022

This week, Eclipse — best known for its animal-free ice creams — closed its Series B round, while another plant-based protein startup, Current Foods, raised capital for its vegan salmon analog.

Elsewhere, e-grocer Ocado scored big from a public market raise as it seeks to license out its automated warehouse tech, and Indian food delivery giant Zomato spent nine figures on an “instant commerce” startup.

Foodtech funding

🇺🇸 Eclipse lands $40 million from Sozo Ventures, others. Funds will help Eclipse expand distribution of its plant-based ice cream and expand into other alt-dairy products in the future. (Food Dive)

🇺🇸 Atomo brews up $40 million funding from AgFunderS2G Ventures, and Horizon Ventures. Part of the Series A funding will go towards launching Atomo’s first “beanless” molecular coffee items as well as developing new products [disclosure: AgFunder is AFN‘s parent company.] (AFN)

🇺🇸 Prosus leads $39 million Series B round for corporate food ordering platform Sharebite. The capital will finance new products and geographic expansion. (Business Insider)

🇺🇸 Current Foods nabs $18 million seed round to launch its vegan salmon product. GreatPoint Ventures, Union Grove Venture Partners, and Astanor Ventures, among others, participated in the round. (Forbes)

🇭🇰 Cell-cultured seafood startup Avant Meats raises $10.8 million. S2G Ventures led the Series A round, with Blue Ocean of SWEN Capital Partners, Regal Hotels, and Thia Ventures coming on board as new investors. (Avant Meats)

🇬🇧 THIS hits £4 million ($4.8 million) crowdfunding target in under two hours. When we last checked, the plant-based meat company’s campaign had raised almost £5.8 million ($7 million). (Vegconomist)

🇭🇰 Food delivery app KIN lands $3.7 million Series A from Tony Yeung, Optimus Capital, and others. KIN’s platform uses a learning algorithm to tailor delivery and takeout options to different neighborhoods and areas. (Green Queen)

🇬🇧 Magical Mushroom Company bags €3.4 million ($3.6 million) seed round led by Ecovative Design. The startup combines agricultural waste with mycelium to create biodegradable, durable packaging material. (EU Startups)

🇨🇭 Nexenic raises 1.8 million Swiss francs ($1.9 million) for its portable mini-steamer Steasy. The mini-steamer is intended as a smaller and lighter replacement for microwave ovens, allowing one person to carry it wherever they go and heat up food. (Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley)

Agtech funding

🇺🇸 AlgiKnit raises $13 million Series A round to turn seaweed into sustainable textiles. Collaborative Fund led the round with participation from H&M, Starlight Ventures, and others. (AFN)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇮🇳 Zomato to acquire “instant commerce” startup Blinkit for $568 million. India-based food delivery service Zomato wants to strengthen its presence in the quick grocery delivery space through this deal. (Bloomberg)

🇺🇸🇩🇰 FMC agrees to buy BioPhero for $200 million to boost biologicals portfolio. FMC CEO Mark Douglas said the acquisition of the pheromone-based biocontrol startup “won’t be the last” the company makes in the space. (AFN)

🇬🇧🇺🇸 Unilever invests $120 million to help commercialize palm oil alternatives. The food giant has partnered with biotech company Genomatica, which is developing an alternative made via microbial fermentation. (Labiotech)

🇨🇦 McCain Foods acquires predictive crop analytics startup Resson for undisclosed sum. Resson’s technologies leverage field data imagery to provide farmers with more information about their farms. (Just Food)

The Jellatech team. Image credit: Jellatech

Other news

🇬🇧 Ocado raises £578 million ($700 million) from public markets to develop its technology division. The unit will license Ocado’s automated warehouses — frequently used in grocery delivery — to other brands. (UK Tech News)

🇺🇸 Jelllatech debuts its first cell-based collagen made without animals. The “full-length, triple helical and functional collagen” is made from Jellatech’s own proprietary cell lines. (Vegconomist)

🇺🇸🇨🇦 DoorDash to launch a quick delivery service. Despite current turbulence in the sector, food delivery service DoorDash will launch the Rapid Delivery program starting in Canadian markets with grocery chain Lowlaws. (Supermarket News)

🇺🇸 Cargill will pay cotton growers for their regen ag practices. US-based cotton growers can enroll in Cargill’s RegenConnect program to get paid for cover-cropping, to-till and other practices. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Shell to power IndyCar with fuel made from food waste in 2023. The oil giant will a blend of second-generation ethanol made from sugarcane waste and other biofuels to power Indianapolis 500 cars. (Forbes)

🇺🇸 Panda Express has a new robot wok. The automated cooker is already in 120 of the QSR’s locations, with plans to be in another 240 before the end of the year. (Nation’s Restaurant News)

🌍 Food inflation relief is “in sight.” An improved supply outlook is pushing down grain prices and taming runaway food inflation, at least for now. (Bloomberg)

🇬🇧 The UK’s Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to launch “strategic farms.” The initiative is part of AHDB’s work to transition the UK dairy industry towards net zero emissions. (Dairy Reporter)

🇬🇧🇳🇱 British Instant grocery service Zapp is in talks to leave Amsterdam. Tricky laws in Amsterdam, including potentially banning dark stores from city centers, have made operations difficult for speedy delivery services like Zapp. (Sifted)

🇺🇸 Beyond Meat to offer sliced-steak product, CEO Ethan Brown says. The company plans to launch the plant-based steak — its first ‘whole cut’ product — later this year in retail stores and eventually in restaurants, Brown told delegates at the Wall Street Journal Global Food Forum. (The Wall Street Journal)

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