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Fundings-in-Brief: Monsanto Leads $7.5m Series A for Understory, Symbiota Re-Brands to Raise $56m, more

February 18, 2016

Symbiota Re-Brands to Indigo and Raises $56m from Flagship Ventures

Microbial stimulant company Symbiota has re-branded to Indigo to mark a new phase in the company’s development. The re-branding coincides with a $56 million capital raise led by Flagship Ventures, the investment firm that founded Symbiota through its “innovation foundry” VentureLabs arm.

Indigo develops microbial solutions that naturally promote plant health and improve agricultural production by harnessing the beneficial microbes that reside within plants.

Indigo CEO explains more about the change on the company blog which you have read here.

Understory raises $7.5m Series A for Weather Hardware

The weather sensor hardware and hyper-local data network company Understory has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding in a round led by Monsanto Growth Ventures and 4490 Ventures, an early stage venture fund based in Wisconsin.

Earlier investors True Ventures, RRE Ventures, and SK Ventures also contributed to the round.

Understory detects weather events at the earth’s surface instead of in the atmosphere like traditional weather stations to create hyper-local weather reports.

Advantage Capital Agribusiness Partners Makes Follow-on Investment in American Botanicals

ACAP, a $154.5 million fund licensed as a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has made a follow-on investment with American Botanicals. The Missouri-based company, which supplies bulk herbs and botanical products, will use the funding to acquire Aloha Medicinals, a biotech company focusing on medicinal mushroom production.

American Botanicals buys, processes, sells and exports hundreds of roots, herbs, barks, berries and other botanical products purchased directly from US farmers and dealers. Over 90 percent of these natural items are collected in the wild. Aloha Medicinals is a top US producer of organic medicinal mushroom raw materials. Its products are used in various pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, as well as in specialty food products and pet treats and supplements. Aloha also produces certified organic mushroom spawn, which is the seed stock used for cultivating edible mushrooms.

Biotech Startup ZeaKal Closes $5.3M Series B

Focused on improving agricultural productivity, biotech startup ZeaKal has raised $5.3 million in a Series B round led by California-based agtech and life sciences investors Finistere Ventures with participation from early stage global agtech investor Middleland Capital and a number of family office investors. Find out more about the company’s PhotoSeed technology on AgFunderNews.

Medicinal Herb Manufacturer Gaia Herbs raises $20.9M

Founded almost 30 years ago, Gaia Herbs, Inc., a manufacturer and seller of medicinal herbs, has closed a $20.9 million round according to CrunchBase. Offering products including herbs, teas, extracts, salves, oils, and tonics, the company offers its products through online channels and brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

Israeli Livestock Wearable Tech Maker Afimilk Acquires Silent Herdsman

Israeli dairy farm management technology provider Afimilk has acquired Silent Herdsman, a private VC-funded company based in the UK. Silent Herdsman has developed a neck-collar device that can help dairy farmers determine when cows are in estrus and to detect health problems at an early stage. To learn more about the acquisition and how the devices assist dairy farmers, click here.

Tiny Farms Raises Undisclosed Seed Round

Sustainable insect protein company Tiny Farms has raised an undisclosed seed round with Arielle Zuckerburg. The company is using data-driven design to construct scalable farms raising insects as a protein source. Insects are 25 times more efficient than beef at converting feed into food, says the company. Check AgFunderNews for an exclusive interview with Tiny Farms about the funding and how the company plans to use it.

Cool Planet Raises $9m for CO2 Sequestering Biocarbon Soil Input

Biocarbon and biofuel producer Cool Planet has raised $9 million from existing growth equity investors North Bridge Venture Partners with participation from a group of family offices and other venture focused investors. This round brings the company’s total raise to $160 million. To read more about the company’s cutting-edge CoolTerra product, which recently earned a USDA Certified Biobased Product Label, and how it plans to use the funding, click here.

Precision Ag Provider Edyn Raises $2m Seed Round

Edyn, a California-based soil sensor company and AgFunder alum, closed a $2 million follow-on seed funding round led by multi-stage investor Fenox Venture Capital. The capital will be used to launch the company’s smart irrigation controller WaterValve at retail outlets around the globe, starting with Japan. To find out why the company is planting its first footprint in Japan and the nuances of hardware R&D, read more here.

Kuli Kuli and StonyCreek Colors Each Receives $75k via Village Capital Accelerator

As the Village Capital Accelerator comes to an end, two agtech companies have been peer-selected to receive a $75,000 investment from VilCap Investments and Radicle Capital. Kuli Kuli, the first company to sell protein-packed moringa plant food products in the U.S. The company completed a $500,000 raise on Agfunder in 2014. The other company selected is Stony Creek Colors, which has created the first scalable agricultural supply chain to replace synthetic petrol based dyes with biobased dyes. The company was one of 19 selected to present at the Larta Institute’s Ag Innovation Showcase in St. Louis in September. To learn more Kuli Kuli and Stony Creek Colors, click here.

Intelligent Home Growing System Maker Robonica Closes Seed Round

Robonica, which developed a “Consumer-Simple ‘Internet of Things’” autonomous growing system, has raised an undisclosed seed round. The cloud-based platform optimizes conditions to produce high-quality edible produce in a variety of locations, including the home.

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