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Finless Foods plant-based tuna
Lettuce wraps using Finless Foods' plant-based tuna. Image credit: Finless Foods

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Finless Foods nets $34m; CPGs & QSRs quit Russia

March 10, 2022

This week, cultivated seafood startup Finless Foods closed a $34 million funding round, Clean Crop Technologies raised funds for its crop protection tool, and Protenga nabbed capital for its insect farming operations.

Meanwhile, major food companies are ceasing operations in Russia and quitting the country in droves; this is in response to its invasion of neighbor Ukraine, as worldwide condemnation of the Russian government and military mounts and economic sanctions hit hard.

Foodtech startup funding

🇺🇸 Once Upon a Farm closes $52 million round. The Series D funding will go towards expanding the company’s cold-pressed food products for kids as well as launching in new geographic areas. (Once Upon A Farm)

🇺🇸 Finless Foods banks $34 million to build a cultivated seafood plant. Finless is currently developing cultivated bluefin tuna and will also use the funds to launch a plant-based tuna in US foodservice locations. Hanwha Solutions led the Series B round, with participation from Dainichi, At One Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, Justin Kan, Humboldt, Gaingels, Draper Associates, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, and SOSV. (Forbes

🇺🇸 Chip giant Nvidia invests $10 million in Serve Robotics. Serve, a spinout of Uber Eats, will put the funds towards expanding its robot food delivery service outside of San Francisco and Los Angeles. (TechCrunch

🇦🇹 Vienna-based Arkeon Biotechnologies secures $7 million in seed financing. The company uses gas fermentation and the microorganism archaea to develop functional protein ingredients for food. (Protein Report

🇺🇸 Vegan “designer fat” startup Lypid raises $4 million. The Seed round will go towards commercializing the California company’s PhytoFat platform that develops plant-based fat to include in meat alternatives. (Lypid) 

🇺🇸 S2G Ventures leads $4 million round for Big Bold Health. The startup aims to develop health solutions based on legacy crop Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat. (Food Navigator)

Agtech startup funding

🇮🇩 Online ag marketplace AgriAku secures a $6 million pre-Series A. Go-Ventures, the VC arm of food delivery app Gojek, led the round. Funding will go towards product and tech development. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Clean Crop Technologies nets $6 million Series A. Its high voltage catalyst technology” treats post-harvest crops for molds and toxins, reducing losses and improving yield. (Clean Crop Technologies) 

🇸🇬 Insect farmer Protenga closes $2 million round for insect farming. The Singapore-based company will launch more “smart insect farms” in neighboring Malaysia that convert organic byproducts into high-value protein and fertilizer. (Aquafeed

🇺🇸 Mi Terro raises $1.5 million seed round. The California synbio company turns agricultural waste into proteins for animal feed, plastic alternatives, and more. (TechCrunch)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Amazon-owned robo-taxi company Zooks acquires Strio.AI. Boston-based Strio.AI has developed a system for autonomous picking and pruning for strawberry crops, but will now transition away from agtech. (TechCrunch

🇮🇳 Swiggy is prepping for an IPO. Indian food delivery service and Zomato’s biggest competitor plans to raise as much as $1 billion in the IPO, said sources close to the matter. (Inc42)

🇮🇱 SuperMeat teams up with Ajinomoto. The cultivated meat and biotech companies plan to establish “a commercially viable supply chain platform” for the cultivated meat industry. (SuperMeat)

Other news

🇮🇳 Ninjacart sets aside $25 million for agtech startups. Fresh produce marketplace Ninjacart said its Agri Seed Funds will invest in new agtech startups and entrepreneurs developing “unique, sustainable, and tech-enabled solutions.” (Economic Times)

🇺🇸 Google donates $1 million to ReFED for food waste prevention. The donation makes Google an anchor funder for the food waste nonprofit’s Catalytic Grant Fund. (The Spoon)

🇺🇸 CRISPR cattle cleared for meat production. The US Food & Drug Administration says meat from short-haired cattle produced through gene editing could be available for purchase within two years. (Successful Farming)

🇺🇸 Brightseed makes new hemp discovery. The novel health and nutrition startup has found phytochemicals in waste hemp hulls which could be used to treat fatty liver disease [disclosure: AFN‘s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Brightseed.] (AFN)

🇺🇸 Tyson to invest in more sustainability tech. Its venture arm is launching a new initiative to gather ideas and find solutions to help the company reach its sustainability goals around emissions reduction, food waste, and more. (Food Dive)

🇺🇸 Coca-Cola is among the latest brand owners to suspend Russian operations amid economic sanctions and worldwide condemnation. The move follows similar measures from a number of CPG and QSR brands including Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, McDonald’s, Starbucks, PepsiCo, and Yum Brands, amongst others, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (CNBC)

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