This is the first of a new-look weekly digest where we will aim to cover all of the week’s funding news in food and agriculture technology each week. Look out for stories on AgFunderNews, which cover some of the deals in more depth. The weekly ‘fundings-in-brief’ will also include relevant M&A news and policy updates for the industry.
AeroFarms, the indoor agriculture company, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Wheatsheaf Group, the investment firm founded by a UK family office, led the round. Chinese technology venture capital firm GSR Ventures, US low-carbon investor MissionPoint Capital and food and agriculture focused VC Middleland Capital all joined the round.
AeroFarms is currently building the world’s largest vertical farm in Newark, New Jersey, which will serve the New York area. The company also has plans to develop multiple farms across the US and in other countries globally.
AgFunder Co-Investment Fund III is now open for investment. Closing June 15, Spots are limited.
This funding round follows an earlier $50 million capital raise from Goldman Sachs and Prudential to start construction of the 80,000 square foot facility.
Watch out for more in-depth coverage on AgFunderNews tomorrow.
Ripple Foods, a plant-base milk substitute company, raised $13.64 million in Series A funding from venture capital investors. The company is planning to launch its first product early next year. It’s one of a growing number of innovations in the food alternatives space. Read more on AgFunderNews.
Swift Navigation, the GPS technology company, raised $11 million in Series A funding in a round led by Eclipse Ventures and joined by New Enterprise Associates, Promus Ventures and existing investors. The company’s technology is used in agricultural machinery.
Public market funding
Zero Gravity Solutions, an agriculture biotech company, working with NASA, raised $3 million in a private placement. The company, which is developing a plant nutrient system, is listed on the US pink sheet market and is seeking a major stock exchange listing, according to an article in Agri Investor.
China’s 1mixians, a fresh produce delivery service, raised $15 million in Series A funding, according to CrunchBase. The only investor disclosed was a local strategic player called Beijing KunLun Wanwei Technologies, an internet group focused on developing interactive platforms and application.
1mixians is not the first Asian food e-commerce player to attract strategic investment: Womai, the food delivery subsidiary of Chinese agribusiness COFCO, attracted investment from Baidu, China’s leading internet search engine, and PepperTap, the Indian grocery delivery service, attracted investment from Snapdeal, Amazon’s India-based rival.
UK meal kit delivery service Gousto raised $9 million in Series B funding from Angel CoFund, MMC Ventures and Unilever Ventures
Indian meal delivery service Faasos raised $30 million in Series C funding. Ru-net, a Russian technology investor, which has also invested in PepperTap and Snapdeal, led the round. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Lightbox Ventures also joined the round, according to CrunchBase. This is the first of three fundings for Indian meal delivery services this week as the sector shows no sign of slowing despite the failure of some.
Yummist raised $2 million in seed funding from Unilazer Ventures, Orios Venture Partners and Steven Lurie, an early stage VC investor, for another meal delivery service in India.
Easy Khaana raised $100k in angel funding for its corporate and individual meal box delivery service in New Delhi.
Private equity and M&A
Dow Chemical and DuPont are in merger talks, the Wall Street Journal revealed this week. Sources tell AgFunderNews that the potential deal has reignited discussions between Monsanto and Syngenta, after the firms failed to agree on a merger earlier this year,.
AgBiTech, an Australian biological insecticide company, was majority acquired by Paine & Partners, the agribusiness private equity firm, as it expands its geographical footprint and product range. Biological inputs are gaining traction among the large-scale farming community, and smaller biotech companies are leading the innovation. Read more on AgFunderNews.
European private equity group Resource Partners acquired a majority stake in Golpasz, a Polish producer and supplier of industrial feed for farm animals, in particular for poultry, pigs and cattle.
Chinese animal feed and processing group New Hope acquired a stake in Lansing Trade Group, a commodity merchandising company operating within North America and internationally.
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Image credit: AeroFarms