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Image credit: Green Coffee Company

The Week in AgriFoodTech: Green Coffee Co brews up $25m, ChatGPT designs robotic harvesting, Zume shuts down

June 8, 2023

Despite a general scarcity of agrifoodtech funding this week, a few companies announced notable rounds, including the Green Coffee Company, which will expand across Colombia, and Turkish food waste management startup Fazla. Elsewhere, ChatGPT is designing robot harvesters for tomatoes and Zume Pizza finally calls it quits.

My Forest Foods product MyBacon. Image Credit: My Forest Foods

Foodtech funding

🇺🇸 Alt meat startup MyForest Foods Co bags $15 million Series A-2 round. Ecovative, which MyForest Foods spun out from in 2020, provided the investment. (AFN)

🇹🇷 Fazla raises $6 million for its waste reduction platform. The company says it has successfully saved over 58,000 tons of food from being wasted. (Tech.eu)

🇺🇸 Food & bev connection platform PartnerSlate bags $4 million to connect CPG brands with manufacturers. Supply Change Capital led the round. (PartnerSlate)

🇳🇱 Shoe Investments‘ owner Pieter Schoen invests €1 million ($1 million) in prepared foods brand Mama’s Meals. With the investment, Mama’s Meals has formed an exclusive partnership with XXL Nutrition. (Silicon Canals)

🇦🇺 Gathar nabs nearly AUD $800,000 ($539,000) via crowdfunding platform Microwd. The private chef platform is now in 30 markets locally and 35 globally. (Startup Daily)

🇺🇸 MLB Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter invests in alt-protein startup Meati. Jeter, an investor in his own right, will also join Meati as an advisor. (RetailWire)

Image credit: Green Coffee Company

Agtech funding

🇺🇸 🇨🇴 Consolidated coffee farmer Green Coffee Company raises $25 million Series C. The company will expand across Colombia and the US, and launch a line of liquors. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Vertical farming company AeroFarms has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code, and confirmed a recapitalization agreement with a consortium of investors to provide $10 million in debtor-in-possession financing as part of a larger round of financing in order to generate the liquidity to support its operations through the bankruptcy process. (IGrowNews)

🇬🇧 Nium raises $3 million seed round to develop its “Green Ammonia on Demand” system. AgFunder led the round with participation from DCVC and existing investors from the UK and Europe including Carbon13. (AFN) [Disclosure: AgFunder is AFN’s parent company.]

🇨🇦 Cascadia Seaweed secures $1.5 million from the British Columbia Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy. Cascadia will fast-track commercialization of its large-scale agrifeed and biostimulant products. (The Fish Site)

🇮🇱 🇺🇸 Growee lands undisclosed funding from the Israeli Innovation Authority & others. Growee plans to bring its small-scale hydroponics system to North America. (Vertical Farm Daily)

🇨🇭 🇦🇷 Nestlé invests undisclosed sum in VC firm the Yield Lab Latam (YLL). The investment is part of Nestlé’s overall push to increase sustainability efforts in the region. (AFN)

A sandwich featuring Prime Roots mycelium-based deli ‘meat.’ Image credit: Prime Roots

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇮🇳 Synbio company Fermbox Bio partners with biotech company Dyadic International Inc. The partnership aims to manufacture and commercialize animal-free proteins and biomaterials. (Green Queen)

🇺🇸 Quorn Foods investing in and partnering with Prime Roots. The deal aims to assist Prime Roots with expansion of its mycelium “deli meat” products. (Food Dive)

🇬🇧 Associated British Foods subsidiary AB Agri buys milk recording and data company National Milk Records. The £48 million deal is expected to close later this year. (Farmers Weekly)

🇺🇸 BioLumic and Gro Alliance team up to scale UV light seed treatment tech to the global row-crop seed industry. BioLumic will deploy its light treatment tech at Gro Alliance’s corn and soybean seed production facilities. (AFN)

🇫🇷 🇺🇸 Precision monitoring company Hiphen acquires drone phenotyping SlantRange. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (FinSMEs)

Funds, grants & accelerators

🇳🇴 🇮🇸 Blue Ocean Technology‘s Terraforming LIFE project receives €6.3 million ($6.8 million) EU grant. The project recycles fish waste to create valuable energy, fertiliser and biochar of high quality. (Undercurrent News)

Image credit: Zume

Other news

🇪🇸 BioTech Foods—a subsidiary of Brazilian meat giant JBS— starts construction of a commercial-scale cultivated meat in Spain, which is set for completion by mid-2024.  The factory, which JBS claims will be the world’s largest cultivated meat plant, should produce 1,000+ tons of beef per year. (Reuters)

🇺🇸 Zume Pizza shuts down after pivoting away from robots and into sustainable packaging. The company is reported to be insolvent and will liquidate its assets. (Nation’s Restaurant News)

🇮🇳 Shaka Harry starts international expansion with new plant-based products for Singapore. The alt protein company will introduce 15 products to retailers and foodservice providers. (Vegan First)

🇮🇳 Global Organic Textile Standard & European Space Agency launch project to use remote monitoring in organic cotton certification. The project will run across India with first results expected by the end of 2023. (Space News)

🇺🇸 The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) announces return of the Real California Excelerator. The dairy innovation competition offers a value of up to $500,000 for winners. (Perishable News)

🇮🇱 🇧🇷 Grace Breeding’s biofertilizer reduces synthetic nitrogen use in corn production by 50% in field trials. The ongoing field trials are taking place in Brazil, in collaboration with Universidade Estadual de Londrina. (AFN)

🇳🇱🇨🇭 ChatGPT creates tomato harvesting robot. Researchers at TU Delft and the Swiss technical university EPFL are weighing the ups and downs of generative AI in robotics. (Vertical Farm Daily)

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