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Fundings-in-Brief: Memphis Meats to Raise $2m Seed Round, FarmDrop Raises $4.3m, more

February 4, 2016

Cultured Meat Company Memphis Meats to Raise $2m Seed Round

Memphis Meats, which is growing cultured meat in a laboratory using cells from cows, pigs, and chickens, is closing in on a $2 million seed round to add to its initial funding from accelerator fund SOSV Ventures.

The founders are presenting to investors at the biotech accelerator Indie Bio, which his run by SOSV, today. While generating one calorie from beef requires 23 calories in feed, Memphis Meats plans to produce a calorie of meat from just three calories in inputs. The company’s products will be free of antibiotics, fecal matter, pathogens, and other contaminants found in conventional meat. Watch out for more in-depth coverage of Memphis Meats next week on AgFunderNews.

UK Farm-2-Consumer Delivery Service FarmDrop Raises $4.3m

Online fresh produce delivery platform FarmDrop raised $4.3 million in a round led by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom’s Atomico. JamJar Investments, a drink focused investment firm, Jonathan Goodwin, founder of Lepe Partners, Jason Goodman, Albion founder and CEO, and previous angel investors Alex Chesterman and Quentin Griffiths also participated in the round. Founded by a former Morgan Stanley stockbroker, Farmdrop provides Londoners with “click-to-harvest” tech for sourcing fruits and vegetables from local farms. The technology also helps farmers keep closer tabs on their inventory and combat food waste.

Back to the Roots Raises Further $5m in Seed Funding

Oakland-based Back to the Roots, which first hit the market with its at-home mushroom growing kits, recently closed a $5 million seed funding round with return backers Black Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, and John Foraker, founder of Annie’s, Nicolas Jammet, co-founder of Sweetgreen. The company, which recently branched into cereal, raised $3 million of the round on crowdfunding platform CircleUp, led by Peter Goober and Tony Robbins via Circle of Trillions. Check back with AgFunderNews tomorrow for a one-on-one interview with co-founder Nik Arora to find out what the company has been up to and how the co-founders plan to “undo food.”

Sustainable Fish Feed Company Calysta Closes $30m Series C

Calysta, which produces fish feed from soil microbes, closed a $30 million Series C funding round with mega ag products company Cargill, US pension fund MERS of Michigan and Bessemer multi-family office. Existing investors Walden Riverwood Ventures, a global investment firm, Aqua-Spark, a Netherlands-based sustainable aquaculture firm, and Pangaea Ventures, a global advanced materials investor, also joined the round. Find more coverage of this deal here on AgFunderNews.

Hortau Raises $10m from New Investors for Precision Irrigation Tech

Californian precision irrigation management company Hortau closed a $10 million equity funding round this week. The company raised the capital from US farm credit system-backed Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners (ACAP), US investment firm BDC Capital, Canadian food and ag VC Avrio Capital, and Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins (CRDC), a Canadian SME investor. Find out more in our interview with Hortau CEO Jocelyn Boudreau by clicking here.

The Yield Lab Invests $600k in Agtech Startups

Agtech startup accelerator The Yield Lab has selected six startups to form its latest cohort and will invest $100k into. Head over to AgFunderNews to find out which companies are joining the program and hear from The Yield Lab managing director Thad Simons.

Flyover Capital Joins Agrible’s $4.1m Series A 

Champaign, Illinois-based startup Agrible brought on a new investor, middle America tech VC firm Flyover Capital, to close out its $4.1 million Series A round. The deal initially closed in July 2015 with seed and growth stage investor Serra Ventures and global food processing and commodities trading corporation Archers Daniel Midland. Read more about the deal and how Agrible plans to use the funding on AgFunderNews.


Syngenta Agrees to ChemChina Takeover for $43bn

In its biggest overseas play to date, Chinese firm ChemChina has offered to buy ag chemical and seed company Syngenta for $43 billion, and the Switzerland-based company has accepted. Sources indicate that China, the world’s biggest agriculture market, is aiming to secure an adequate food supply for its burgeoning population. Scooping up Syngenta would be a substantial step in helping the country boost outputs. Beijing has made modernizing its agriculture system a priority over the next five years, after decades of intensive farming and the overuse of chemical inputs. The deal is sure to come as bitter news to Monsanto, which made an aggressive push to purchase Syngenta in 2015 and failed.

China’s COFCO and Hopu team up to Buy 51% Stake In Noble Agriculture Unit

Chinese grain trader COFCO Corp and private-equity investment firm Hopu International Management purchased a majority stake in Noble Group’s agribusiness division for $1.5 billion, forming a joint venture. The move is part of China’s continued effort to address its agriculture sector and increase agricultural production. Singapore-based Noble Group will retain a 49 percent stake in the company’s agriculture unit. Cofco also recently purchased a majority stake in Dutch grain trader Nidera, providing it with increased access to some of the globe’s biggest grain producing regions, including Russia and Latin America.

Aspen Group Acquires AgriLogic Insurance Services

International reinsurance and insurance coverage provider Aspen Insurance Holdings has acquired Kansas-based integrated agricultural consultancy business AgriLogic Insurance Services and select affiliates. Aspen’s play is intended to diversify further its portfolio of specialty insurance business and complements its strategy of building companies that are founded on deep technical expertise. AgriLogic was founded as a consulting firm and now offer in-depth technical capability and industry knowledge to provide customized risk management solutions to the agricultural community.

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