Fundings-in-Brief: Livestock Sex Sorting Tech Raises $4.5m, Inocucor Extends Series A, Food Waste Tech Gets $16m, more

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Engender Technologies Raises $4.5m for Sperm Gender Identification Tech

A New Zealand startup using laser technology to sort dairy bull sperm by sex has raised $4.5 million in funding after its initial $2.5 million target was oversubscribed. The investor base was 100% local including artificial insemination company CRV, life sciences venture investor Pacific Channel, government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, and some New Zealand angel investor groups. Pacific Channel’s Brent Ogilvie is Engender’s interim managing director. The proceeds of the round will be used to develop a laboratory prototype instrument to use in trials and a commercial prototype chip, as well as securing further commercial, intellectual property rights. The global artificial insemination market for agriculture is worth around $2.4 billion. Tune into AgFunderNews for more on this deal in the coming days.

Sustainable Bio Products Maker Inocucor Technologies Extends Series A to $6m

Developing sustainable biological products for the phyto-microbiome, Montreal-based Inocucor Technologies has closed an expanded $6 million Series A round from existing investors Cycle Capital Management, a Canadian Cleantech VC, Desjardins Innovatech, Canada’s cooperative financial group, Red Metal Capital, a Michigan-based family office, and Closed Loop Capital, a food and agtech VC. The ag biotech company relies on natural fermentation and a patented blend of yeasts and bacteria to facilitate microbiome function and synergistic communities of compatible microbes. Inocucor is currently investigating the metabolic byproducts generated during the company’s proprietary fermentation process that gives rise to “natural actives.” Preliminary testing shows that these byproducts may have bio-stimulation and plant health properties, says the company.

Food Waste Technology Startup WISErg Raises $16.44m

Waste management and resource conservation company WISErg has raised $16.44 million in a venture capital round from undisclosed investors. The company harvests nutrients from food waste and food scraps to create an organic fertilizer product. To date, the California-based company has raised nearly $50 million in venture funding since May 2012, according to CrunchBase. The company created a self-contained device that can be filled with unwanted and discarded food. It liquefies the nutrients including solids like cherry pits and bones. The liquid, which is stabilized inside the machine, is then transported to a nearby facility where it finishes the transformation process into a fertilizer. The operation of the Harvester machine is monitored remotely in real-time by WISErg technicians to ensure a smooth process.

Planetary Resources Raises $21.1m Series A

Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company, has raised $21.1 million in Series A funding. The capital will be used to deploy and operate Ceres, an advanced Earth observation business that features the first commercial infrared and hyperspectral sensor platform to better understand and manage humanity’s natural resources. The funding was led by Bryan Johnson and the American early-stage OS FUND, and joined by tech-focused Chinese partners Idea Bulb Ventures, Chinese investment holding company Tencent, early stage venture fund Vast Ventures, smart hardware investors Grishin Robotics, emerging tech investors Conversion Capital, angel investor network The Seraph Group, space-focused tech investors Space Angels Network, a syndication of investors from Angel.co, and Larry Page. Find out more about how the company plans to apply its technology to the agriculture industry and which global agribusiness it’s partnered with, over on AgFunderNews.

MastiLine Closes Series A for Animal Health Tech

Animal health startup MastiLine has raised a Series A investment round from Dutch investment and development agency NOM, Dutch loan financiers Doefonds Fryslân, early-stage impact investment firmSHIFT Invest, and its own management. The size of the funding round was not disclosed but it was more than $1 million, according to one of the investors. MastiLine develops and manufactures sensors and an automated monitoring system to detect the early signs of mastitis, a common infection in dairy cows. Find out more on AgFunderNews.

Meal Kit Delivery Service Chef’d Raises $12.3m Series A

Californian food e-commerce company Chef’d has raised over $12 million in a Series A round from a group of 14 investors including online grocery delivery service Fresh Direct and HomeAway co-founder Carl Shepherd. Providing pre-measured meal ingredients and recipes for customers, the company focuses on convenience while cutting down on food waste. The financing follows the company’s recent partnership with NYT Cooking, an online recipe book, similar to partnerships it has created with Good Housekeeping and Men’s Health. To distinguish itself from other players in the food e-commerce game, the company is offering meal kits a la carte instead of a subscription-based service.

Online Wine Resource Kazzit Raises $250k

Offering an online informational resource for the wine community, Kazzit has raised $250k from an undisclosed group of investors. The platform connects wineries, vineyards, restaurants, collectors, and enthusiasts to help them share information about products, services, experiences, and consumer needs. The one-year-old company offers vineyards and distributors a global platform to sell their products while providing consumers with better access to wine and wine-related events. Buyers can be matched with specific wineries and vineyards based on customizable searches accounting for geography, varietals, and reviews.

…And an update

Qualcomm Ventures Invests in Big Data Startup Strider

Strider, a decision support tool offering data aggregation and pest management, has closed a $3 million Series B round of funding with Brazilian venture firm Monashees, and Qualcomm Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of tech giant Qualcomm. This is the first agtech investment for Monashees, according to Ed Siatti, VP of sales. Strider will use the proceeds to expand into the US, expand the platform to whole crop management, and reach 5 million acres of land in Brazil; it’s currently on 2 million. Siatti sees a lot of clients coming from the sugarcane business, he told AgFunderNews. Strider’s Scouting Program has also been adopted by Texas A&M Agrilife for this coming season. (This was first reported on May 5.)

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