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Fundings-in-Brief: General Mills’ VC Arm Funds Snack Maker, Japanese Farm-to-Restaurant Startup Raises Series A

January 14, 2016

General Mills’ Venture Capital Arm Invests in Plant-Based Snack Maker Rhythm Superfoods

Major food producer General Mills Inc.’s venture capital arm, 301 INC, led a recent $3 million funding round with Rhythm Superfoods, a company that manufacturers organic and GMO-free kale chips and other plant-based snacks. In addition to the investment, 301 INC will partner with the startup to help scale up its manufacturing model while connecting the company with new retail partners. Private consumer company investor CircleUp Growth Fund also participated in the round.

Food Waste Fertilizer Maker California Safe Soil Raises $5.9m in Equity Capital

Turning food waste into fertilizer, California Safe Soil (CSS) has raised $5.9 million in equity capital, a round it commenced on online investment platform in 2015.The funding will be used to transition the company beyond its pilot phase of development and to help with the construction of a new facility where it will have the capacity to recycle 32,000 tons of food waste per year. The company’s Harvest to Harvest (H2H) fertilizer product has become popular among a variety of vegetable producers, including strawberries, leafy greens, tomatoes, almonds, walnuts, and carrots as well as livestock producers.

Japanese Online Ordering Platform Planet Table Closes $850k Round

Japanese farm-to-restaurant e-commerce startup Planet Table closed a $850k Series A round of funding from internet retail investor CyberAgent Ventures and the venture arm of financial services provider Credit Saison’s, Saison Ventures. The company plans to use the funding to ramp up human resources for sales and the system development of its online ordering and distribution platform. Referred to as Send, the company’s platform creates a micro-network of farmers and high-end restaurants, with the goal of spurring local business and thwarting food waste.

Indian E-Commerce Company FreshMenu Raises $16.5m Round

Bangalore-based food e-commerce company  round led by India-centric investor Zodius Capital with participation from early stage enterprise and consumer sector investors Lightspeed Venture Partners. Launched in 2014, the company has expanded into Mumbai and Gurgaon, providing pan-Asian cuisine prepared in its own kitchens. The funding announcement comes around the same time that fellow Indian food delivery service Zomato closed food-ordering operations in four cities.

Organic Meal Delivery Service Sakara Life Closes $4.8m Series A

Branded as a healthy lifestyle company, Sakara Life has closed a $4.8 million Series A involving Jeff Boyd and Bob Mylod, former CEO and CFO of Priceline, in addition to San Francisco angel investment firm SV Angel. Based in New York City, launched in 2012 and infamous among A-list celebrities, the company launched its West Coast expansion in 2015 and launched its national platform in January 2016. The new influx of capital will be used to fund continued expansion.

Indian Organic Seed-to-Table Farming Venture Lumiere Finishes Undisclosed Series A

Bangalore-based Lumiere recently completed a crowdfunding round, closing the deal for an undisclosed amount involving 20 unnamed investors consisting of the company’s patrons. Founded in 2002, the organic farming enterprise provides farm and bakery products under the Lumiere brand name at two stores in Bangalore, in addition to selling products online. It also maintains a restaurant serving Lumiere farm produce.

Indian Healthy Ingredients Startup WIMWI Closes Seed Round with CIIE

Aiming to bring healthy food ingredients and snacks to homes and offices in India, WIMWI has raised a seed round with Indian tech startup accelerator Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE). The company not only strives to offer healthy food ingredients, but food options that compliment a traditional Indian diet. Find out more on AgFunderNews.

Indian Potato Supply Chain Company SV Agri Raises Undisclosed Series B

Pune-based potato supply chain management company SV Agri closed a Series B round led by venture capital impact investment firm Lok Capital, which manages over $85 million in investment. Existing investor Aspada Investment Company also participated in the round. Founded in 2009, SV Agri focuses on improving supply chain dynamics through combining processing and technology. Operating with a network of over 100 franchisees, SV Agri will use the new funding to expand its procurement component while scaling up production of its brand-name potato seed products. The funding will also help the company build and enhance its technology platform.

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