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Fundings-in-Brief: Google and the CIA Invest in Satellite Imagery Startup Contributing to $185m in Weekly Investment

June 30, 2016

Google and CIA Invest in Orbital Insight’s $20m Series B

Geospatial big data company Orbital Insight has raised $20 million in Series B funding in a round led by Google’s venture arm GV with participation from early stage tech investor CME Ventures, multi-stage global tech investor Sequoia Capital, science and tech investor Lux Capital, and Bloomberg LP’s early-stage investment arm Bloomberg Beta. Also investing in this round, and entering into a development agreement with the Palo Alto-based startup, is In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. The company undertakes the large-scale analysis of drone and satellite-derived images using self-learning algorithms that make sense of the terrain, buildings, and weather displayed in the images. Agriculture is one of its target sectors. According to the company, its programs can count the number of cars in a parking lot. Last year, it partnered with the World Bank to help the institution develop its poverty-based data, and counts over 60 asset management firms, US government agencies, and global non-profits among its client list.

Online Health Food Store Thrive Market Raises $111m Series B

Thrive Market, which offers roughly 3,000 different health food, supplements, personal care, and beauty products, has raised a $111 million in Seriers B funding led by equity investor Invus with participation from early-stage NYC internet VCs Greycroft Partners, early stage and growth stage investors E-Ventures, and consumer product and tech investors Cross Culture Ventures. Users pay a $60 annual membership fee and the model operates similar to popular online retailer Amazon Prime. According to some current reports, the company boasts over 300,000 subscribers on its platform. Roughly one year ago in July 2015 the company closed a $30 million Series A, which followed an undisclosed seed round in January 2014.

Lab-Grown Leather Developer Modern Meadow Raises $40m 

Biofabricating alternatives to traditional leather by growing living cells, Modern Meadow has raised a $40 million Series B round led by Hong Kong-based disruptive tech investors Horizons Ventures and global multi-family office Iconiq Capital. Other investors participating in the round include disruptive tech investor ARTIS Ventures, Singapore multi-billion dollar investment firm Temasek, startup incubator Breakout Ventures, consumer product and experience investors Red Swan Ventures, seed capital fund Collaborative Fund, and former iPod senior VP Tony Fadell. This round brings the company’s total funding to $53.5 million and will be used to help the company transition from R&D to manufacturing. It will also work to commercialize its biofabricated leather for the first time. It creates its animal-free product using collagen protein and other essential building blocks found in animal skin. Find out more on AgFunderNews.

Food Safety Startup Ancera Raises $8.9m Series A Round

Based in Connecticut, Ancera has raised a $8.9 million Series A to develop and commercialize its food testing technology. Providing both hardware and software platforms, the company is hoping to help combat food fraud and to help identify food adulterants like salmonella before outbreaks occur. Ancera’s hardware device, using a magnetics-based technology called MagDrive, is able to interact, sort and manipulate cells with a single-cell resolution directly from complex samples ranging from lettuce to fecal matter. Learn more about the company’s technologies and how it plans to use the funding in our recent interview.

Bay Area Food Delivery Service Farm Hill Raises $3m

California-based healthy meal delivery service Farm Hill has closed a $3 million venture round, bringing its total financing to date to $4 million. Participants in this round included food, energy, and finance firm Eagle Cliff Partners, NYC seed stage fund Liberty City Ventures, angel investors Soma Capital, Stanford affiliated accelerator StartX, and The Fresh Diet founder Zalmi Duchman, according to CrunchBase. The startup receives input from a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef named Thea Vengrin. The CIA is considered among many folks in the food world to be the MIT for chefs. Farm Hill is committed to zero added sugars and whole ingredients. The new funding will be used to expand its market reach and experiment with new technologies to streamline delivery. It’s not limiting its options either, with software, self-driving food carts, and robots comprising some of its current considerations.

Agricultural Feedstock Company Pacific Ag Raises $2m

Pacific Ag has raised a $2 million venture round with existing food and ag business investors Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners. Currently serving clients in 8 different states, Pacific Ag provides local growers with residue management solutions, hay and forage harvest, and marketing services. They brand their methods as sustainable residue removal while also taking into consideration the soil conservation requirements contained in the National Resource Conservation Service programs. In July 2015, the company completed a $7 million raise.

Indonesian Scalable Organic Farm iGrow Raises Seed Round

iGrow, an Indonesian startup offering an organic farm building platform, has raised an undisclosed seed round from global multi-sector investors East Ventures and global venture seed fund and accelerator 500 Startups. Based in Depok, the company plans to use the funding for internal expansion, stating that there are 16 million hectares of underutilized land in the country. Its platform connects farmers and investors by allowing the investors to select the crops they want to fund based on their expected returns and budget. The farmers then cultivate the crops while the team at iGrow supervises the process. After the crops are harvested, they are sold to one of the startup’s partner merchants. Both investors and the farmers split the proceeds.

Food Bioprocessing Company Alrgn Bio Raises $99k Debt Financing Round

Offering hypoallergenic peanuts, Alrgn Bio has closed a $99,000 debt financing round. Using its patented food grade enzymatic process along with current food industry processing technologies, it renders highly allergenic peanuts safe for folks with sensitivities to eat. The non-GMO peanuts and products derived therefrom are used in more than 5,000 prepared food products around the world according to the company.

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