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Fundings-in-Brief: Microbiome Startup Pivot Bio in $16m Series A, Drones Companies Raise Funding, more

March 24, 2016

Microbiome Innovation Startup Pivot Bio Raises $16m Series A

The microbiome is a hot topic among agtech entrepreneurs and investors at the moment as research points to the potential to improve productivity at the soil and plant level.  Pivot Bio, a Californian start-up in stealth modehas completed a $16 million Series A round, according to an SEC filing. The website gives little information away, but CrunchBase describes the company as using microbe-powered technology to develop products that increase nutrient delivery, provide pest protection, and boost crop quality. The company leverages engineering principles and data science to map the dynamics of the plant microbiome and evolve beneficial traits. We look forward to finding out more when the company officially launches.

Deveron to Raise $800k as Regulator Awards UAV Flight License

Deveron, a Toronto-based drones company, is raising $800k in a private placement. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and was recently granted a Special Flight Operations Certificate from Canada’s transport regulator. This allows the company to operate small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for surveying agricultural land in rural areas. The license allows Deveron to make flights on a yearly basis as opposed to obtaining approval each time it wants to put eyes in the sky. Deveron combines hardware, cameras, sensors, and software technologies to collect crop data and provide actionable insights to farmers. Images can be used with existing farm GIS software for variable rate fertilizing, seeding, pesticide applications and other prescription management solutions to ultimately help farmers increase yields and reduce costs.

Indian Drone Company AUS in Bridge Financing Round

Strategic seed fund investor StartupXseed Ventures has closed its second investment in Indian drone tech startup Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS). StartupXSeed led the undisclosed bridge round alongside a number of other investors. The company will use the new funding for product development and to expand its team. AUS’s mission is to offer faster, cost-effective, and highly enriched drone services, according to its website. It operates across industries including agriculture, land surveying, civil engineering, infrastructure, and utilities. For agriculture, it aims to provide precision agriculture solutions for irrigation, pesticide distribution, early failure warnings, and fertilizer applications. The company currently provides NDVI-based services for India’s agriculture sector.

 BigBasket Raises $150m in Series D led by Abraaj Group

Online grocery delivery service BigBasket closed a $150 million Series D round led by global private equity firm The Abraaj Group. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and US venture firm Sands Capital also joined as new investors alongside existing investors including Ascent CapitalBessemer Venture PartnersHelion Advisors, and Zodius Capital. Launched in 2011, the Bengaluru-based company provides grocery delivery services to consumers throughout India, currently operating in over 18 cities. With 19,000 products offered by 1,000 brands including fresh produce and meat, the company claims it fulfills more than one million orders each month. The company, which features a smartphone app, competes in India’s rapidly expanding e-commerce market with other venture-backed food delivery services like Peppertap, Grofers, and Amazon Now. Click here to learn more about the deal.

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