Fundings-in-Brief: Antimicrobial Startup Raises $1.3m, Food E-Commerce Raises $131m, Farmers Edge Raises $3m, more

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PURE Bioscience Raises $1.27m for Antimicrobial Tech in Warrant Exercise

Antimicrobial tech developer PURE Bioscience has raised $1.27 million from the recent exercise of 2.8 million warrants that expired May 23, 2016. The funding will be used to help the company commercialize its FDA-approved PURE Control antimicrobial product for the fresh produce and raw poultry processing industries. The non-toxic intervention product is designed to thwart foodborne illness and to reduce Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coil during processing—harmful pathogens that can lead to death in some instances. The company’s technology platform is based on patented stabilized ionic silver. Its initial products contain silver dihydrogen citrate, or SDC. SDC is a broad-spectrum, non-toxic antimicrobial agent providing 24-hour residual protection while also formulating easily with other compounds.

Farmers Edge Raises $3.2m from Osmington

Precision agriculture company Farmers Edge has raised a further $3.2 million from Canadian real estate company Osmington. The investment was a result of an option Osmington had to increase its investment in Farmers Edge that was due to expire. It follows an earlier $41 million round where existing investors Mitsui & Co, the Japanese trading house, VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Osmington all re-invested in the startup.

Hyperspectral Imaging Service Gamaya Raises $3.23m Series A

Switzerland-based large-scale farmland diagnostics platform Gamaya has raised $3.23 million in a Series A financing round with Sandoz Foundation, Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, social impact investor Seed4Equity, and Swiss venture capital firm VI Partners. The new funding will be used to build out the company’s employee roster while also expanding its operations. Using drones, hyperspectral imaging technology, and artificial intelligence, the company provides alerts for pests and disease, yield prediction, and prescriptions for input application rates. Its current platforms service corn, soybean, and sugarcane growers. Find out more on

Chinese E-Grocer Benlai Life Raises $117m Series C

Benlai Life, a company that provides fresh produce food delivery, has closed a $117 million Series C with ChinaEquity Group, China Urban Realty Association, and a subsidiary of Joyoung Co., among others. The funding will be used to build out the company’s supply chain, boost logistical services, and expand into new markets throughout China. Launched in 2012, the company maintains three main warehouses located in Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing and provides fresh produce delivery to 22 cities throughout the country.

UK Same-Day E-Grocer GrabFood Raises $1.2m Angel Round

Based in London, GrabFood has raised a $1.2 million angel funding to support its same-day grocery delivery service that offers delivery as quickly as one hour. It features crowd-sourced personal shoppers who purchase groceries to earn a commission. The funding comes at a time when grocery delivery services are becoming more popular, with big names like Amazon even jumping into the business with its Amazon Fresh service coming soon to Boston and the UK.

West Coast Organic Meal Kit Delivery Service Sun Basket Raises $11.6m Series A

Providing organic meal kits, Sun Basket has closed a $11.6 million Series A round led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Palo Alto-based Pivot North, and alternative asset platform Robertson Stephens Partners. A number of other investors participated in the round including seed investors Baseline Ventures, culinary specialists The Tyler Florence Group, growth capital tech investors Rembrandt Ventures, co-investors Correlation Ventures, early stage investors Relevance Capital, full service investment banking firm Roth Capital, and others. The company targets consumers who are cautious about genetically engineered foods and who prefer gluten-free, paleo, or vegetarian fare. It also sources ingredients seasonally from farms along the West Coast. Clients can select three recipes that feed two to four people at a cost of roughly $11.49 per meal.

European Home Cooking Platform Menu Next Door Raises $2m

Menu Next Door, which runs a home cooked meal platform, has raised a $2 million seed round from global tech investment firm Index Ventures, London-based seed firm Local Globe, early stage investors Kima Ventures, and European investors TheFamily. The service allows users to either cook homemade meals for other users or allows hungry browsers to order up a dish. Currently the service is only available in Paris and Brussels with a London market launching soon. Users have to place their order roughly one to two days in advance and can pick up the food from the cook’s kitchen. So far, the company reports 900 cooks on the platform.

Indonesian Farm-2-Consumer App Limakilo Raises Seed Round

Designed to help Indonesian farmers connect directly with their consumers, Limakilo has raised an undisclosed seed round. The new capital will be used to expand its reach into markets outside Jakarta and to increase its farmer partnership base. It also intends to enter into agreements with farming associations to train its members on how the Limakilo app can boost their businesses. The founders participated in a number of hackathon competitions during the development phase of the app platform. According to the founders, the prices on the Limakilo platform are consistently 15 percent cheaper than what’s offered in other markets. The reason for this cost difference is being able to cut out the middlemen, they say.

Two more food e-commerce startups that raised undisclosed seed funding this week were BonAppetour, a European service offering the opportunity to dine in people’s homes around the world, and Kamoon, an on-demand US food delivery business.

And also this week…

Impossible Foods is reported to be raising $200 million at a $1 billion valuation, according to an investor presentation seen by Bloomberg. The documents detail big expansion plans for the startup including construction of a 95,000-square-foot research-and-development facility where the company will use artificial intelligence and robotics to uncover new plant-based protein products such as oysters and blue cheese. The company is calling the facility “Blackbird,” and will allow its scientists to analyze over 960 plant samples a week in its plant-processing lab using “discovery systems technology.” Hampton Creek plans to spend $8.8 million on R&D in 2016, which is almost twice the amount spent in 2015, according to the documents.


ConAgra Foods to Sell Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings to Givaudan

ConAgra Foods is selling its Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings business to Givaudan for approximately $340 million. The agreement includes the transition of approximately 280 employees as well as facilities in New Jersey and Illinois. Regarding the sale, president and chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods Sean Connolly said, “We are committed to becoming a more focused and higher performing company in order to drive greater shareholder value. Divesting Spicetec is the latest action we have taken that will allow ConAgra Foods to invest resources into our core product portfolio to drive sustainable growth.” In the recent statement he also added, “We truly appreciate the contributions of the Spicetec employees and look forward to having an ongoing relationship with them as a key supplier to ConAgra Foods.”

Eurofins BioDiagnostics Merges with Eurofins STA

Eurofins STA Laboratories, and Eurofins BioDiagnostics (EBDI). have merged into a single genetic testing company and brand. The merger is designed to combine EBDI’s analytical and genetic service strengths with the seed and plant health experience of ESTA. The new entity aims to become the most complete analytical testing company in North America focused on the seed, plant, and agbio testing markets. The combined company will maintain the name of Eurofins BioDiagnostics. Laboratory operations will continue to expand in the company’s three main locations: River Falls, Wisconsin, Longmont Colorado, and Gilroy, California.

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