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Fundings-in-Brief: Ripple Foods Raises $30m from Google, Khosla, S2G, Tao, Soil Disease Testing Kit Raises $4m, more

July 14, 2016

Ripple Foods Raises $30m from Google Ventures, Khosla, S2G, Tao Capital

Ripple Foods, which makes non-dairy milk products with eight times the protein as almond milk and half the sugar of dairy milk, has closed a $30 million Series B round led by GV, Google’s venture investment arm. Other participants include tech-focused investor Prelude Ventures, Californian family office Tao Capital Partners, Tim Koogle, VC behemoth Khosla Ventures, food and ag-focused VC S2G, seed capital investor Collaborative Fund, seed stage investor Blueberry Ventures, Seth Goldman, and sustainable early-stage company fund Radicle Impact. Based in Emeryville, CA, the company has developed a method to process yellow peas into a dairy-like drink. It claims that its milk replacement product has a better taste and texture than other non-dairy products like almond milk and rice milk. In April 2016, the company started selling its product through Whole Foods Market locations on the West Coast, Midwest, and soon on the East Coast. Target will begin selling its product nationwide in late July 2016. In December 2015, the startup closed a $13.6 million Series A funding to support its market launch.

Soil Disease Testing Kit Startup Trace Genomics Raises $4m Venture Round

Based in San Francisco, soil testing kit maker Trace Genomics has closed a $4 million venture round led by Refractor Capital, the new VC firm from David Lee, the former Google executive who ran SV Angels for years. It was joined by farmland and agtech investment fund Fall Line Capital, global investment firm Viking Global, and Illumina, a genome sequencing firm. The round coincides with the launch of Trace Genomics’ first microbiome test for soil pathogens in strawberry and lettuce farming. The startup participated in Illumina’s highly selective accelerator program and was announced as one of three winners of the Thrive Accelerator yesterday at the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, California. It’s unclear whether the accelerator’s organizer and sponsor will invest in the company. Before launching its service, which many compare to human DNA testing kit 23andMe, Trace Genomics completed trials on strawberry and lettuce farms in California. The soil testing kit also allows farmers to gauge the health and productivity of their soil before they begin planting, allowing optimization of inputs and yields. The product is intended to help farmers make cost-saving decisions about the types of treatments to apply to their soil or even which crops to plant.

NZ Agtech Startup CropLogic Crowdfunds $500k for ASX Listing

CropLogic has raised $512,200 via crowdfunding platform Equitise, which it will use to prepare for its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. The Christchurch-based company software gathers field data and makes crop prescriptions and management recommendations based on proprietary models. The startup has an agreement with the NZ Institute for Plant and Food Research to model potatoes and is about to start trials of the system in other commodities such as corn, wheat, soybean and cotton. In 2015, CropLogic was one of seven startups to get a $450k grant from Callaghan Innovation to develop aerial imaging technology.

Indian Fresh Direct-to-Store Service Crofarm Raises $1.5m Seed Round

Crofarm, a startup supporting farmers and businesses with a new supply chain method for fresh produce, has raised $1.5 million in a seed round with two former principals from Asia-focused growth capital fund SAIF Partners and a group of angel investors. The farm-to-business or F2B, model aims to provide farmers better value, better deals, faster transit time, and reduced waste. Headquartered in Delhi with locations in Mumbai and Bengaluru, the company is in the proof-of-concept phase, partnering with local farmers and selling select products to merchants. It has on-boarded roughly 24 dozen farmers and claims to process roughly 100 tons of produce each week.

Online Food & Beverage Industry Platform Bevspot Closes $11m Series B

Boston-based Bevspot, which helps bars, restaurants, distributors, and suppliers optimize their businesses through an online platform, has closed a $11 million Series B round with Boston-based global alternative investment firm Bain Capital Ventures and other investors. Founded in 2014 by Harvard and MIT tech entrepreneurs, the company uses a series of web- and app-based tools to help companies keep tabs on inventory and to create invoices, while also linking with the businesses’ point of sales systems. It touts 400 active customers ranging from bars, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs. The new capital will be used to help the company achieve an international expansion.

Gurgaon’s Twigly Raises $600k Seed Round

Twigly, a food ordering app that delivers global cuisine to client’s doorsteps, has raised a $600k seed round with multifaceted investment firm Tracxn Labs, Hyderabad Angels, Kunal Shah co-founder of FreeCharge, Aditya Verma co-founder of Indian real estate business, Gaurav Bhalotia VP of engineering at online product mart Flipkart, and others. Founded in August 2015, the company operates two kitchens in Gurgaon and reports roughly 150 orders per day. The new dose of funding will be used to grow the company’s user base in Delhi and Bangalore. According to a recent statement from Twigly, it intends to create its own range of dips and drinks with a long-term goal of parroting Yum! Brands. It also reports being in the middle of creating backend infrastructure to create its private label products. Twigly hopes its private label products will hit the market within the next six months.

Irish Vegetable Producer Secures $3.24m for Anaerobic Digester

Managing over 2,500 acres of field vegetables and salad crops, Irish produce company Gilfresh Produce has raised a $3.24 million venture capital round with the Copenhagen-based European financial enterprise Danske Bank to support the installation of an anaerobic digester that can process 120 tons of discarded vegetables per week. The machine will generate enough energy to power the factory, and any excess energy will be sold back to the power grid. Based in Loughall in County Armagh, the family-run company was established five decades ago. At a time when energy costs are rising in Northern Ireland, the new capital, and anaerobic digester will help the company maintain profit margins. Formerly, the company sold its wasted vegetable inventory to farmers as feed at a very low margin. After the company had visited numerous sites in Europe featuring anaerobic digesters, they saw how well it compliment their operation and help them overcome poor weather, rough trading conditions, and rising energy costs.

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