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A Drone Ag machine at work in the field. Image credit: Drone Ag

The Week in AgriFoodTech: Maple Hill Creamery lands $20m, Michelle Obama’s new food brand, Agrii & Drone Ag team up

May 4, 2023

This week, organic, regenerative dairy company Maple Hill Creamery announced new funding, as did low-carb bread brand Hero Bread and others. Former First Lady Michelle Obama launched a food and bev brand for children. Agronomy service provider Agrii made an investment in Drone Ag to bring the technology to more farms.

8 Myles founder Myles Powell. Image credit: 8 Myles

Foodtech funding

🇺🇸 Low-carb bakery brand Hero Bread raises $15 million Series B from Cleveland Avenue and DNS Capital. Hero Bread will launch products at around 2,300 retailers. (Bloomberg)

🇬🇧 Shelf-life preservation startup It’s Fresh! bags £6.7 million ($8.4 million) Series B led by BGF and Zintinus. Funding will go towards scaling the business. (UKTN)

🇸🇬 Closed Loop Partners leads $8 million Series A for ecoSPIRITS‘ closed-loop spirits distribution system. Other investors to the round include Pavilion Capital, Proterra Asia and Pernod Ricard. (Deal Street Asia)

🇺🇸 Healthy frozen foods startup 8 Myles lands $1.05 million seed round to expand operations. Participants included Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Talent x Opportunity Initiative, Virginia Venture Partners & others. (Food Business News)

🇨🇳 Joes Future Food Technology Co. raises “tens of millions” of Yuan in Series A+ round. The unspecified amount of funding will go towards building a pilot plant for cultivated meat. (Green Queen)

A Drone Ag machine at work in the field. Image credit: Drone Ag

AgTech funding

🇺🇸 Organic dairy company Maple Hill Creamery secures $20 million from the USDA. Funding is part of the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. (FoodBev Media)

🇮🇩 Cold chain solutions provider Coldspace raises $3.8 million seed round. Intudo Ventures, ASSA and Triputra Group led the round. (FinSMEs)

🇬🇧 Agronomy services providers Agrii invests in Drone Ag. Agrii will provide funding for research, development and commercialization of Drone Ag’s technology on farms. (Farm Contractor)

🇺🇸 Agriculture analytics startup Sentera raises undisclosed Series C round. Conti Ventures and S2G Ventures co-led the round. (FinSMEs)

🇺🇸 Athian, a carbon marketplace for the livestock industry, secures undisclosed seed round. DSM Venturing and California Dairies invested in the round. (FoodBev Media)

The Yield Lab Latam Team. Image credit: YLL

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 🇨🇦 Ingredients company Above Food to go public via SPAC with Bite Acquisition. The transaction is expected to provide around $44 million to “fund future facility development and working capital” for Above. (Businesswire)

🇺🇸 Precision fermentation startup The EVERY Co teams up with Alpha Foods. The two will explore the potential of meat alternatives featuring “animal-free” egg whites made with microbes instead of chickens. (AFN)

Funds, grants & accelerators

🇦🇷 The Yield Lab Latam raises $20m from Grupo Bimbo, IDB Lab, others for third fund. YLL will use the fund to invest in 30 Latin American agrifoodtech startups over the next four years. (AFN)

🇨🇦 The51 Food and AgTech Fund makes first close on its $30 million fund. The women-led firm that invests in climate and farming startups, aims to bring the fund to $50 million. (AFN)

🇸🇬 The AgFunder GROW Impact Accelerator announces 2023 cohort of agrifoodtech startups. The 10 chosen startups focus on a range of themes including food as medicine, climate-smart agriculture and fintech. (AFN)

Image credit: PLEZi Nutrition

Other news

🇳🇴 Salmon producer Kvarøy Arctic opens applications for its annual women in aquaculture scholarship. The program will provide one recipient with a $10,000 fund for education and scientific research. (The Fish Site)

🇮🇩 Cloud kitchen DishServe ceases operations. The company said it suffered from branding, distribution and supply chain problems in addition to low operating margins. (D-insights)

🇺🇸 Chick-fil-A deploys geofencing tech in its restaurant app to reduce wait times. Average wait times decreased by one to two minutes in a recent pilot, says the QSR chain. (Restaurant Dive)

🇵🇹 Agrotonomy builds a vertical farm to help rehabilitate inmates nearing release. The Agrotonomy team worked “hand-in-hand” with prisoners and guards to set up the farm, which the inmates themselves manage. (Vertical Farm Daily)

🇺🇸 Michelle Obama launches PLEZi Nutrition, a healthy food & bev brand for children. The company’s first product is a low-sugar fruit juice. (CNN)

🇺🇸 Farmers Business Network launches AI advisor, Norm. FBN farmers can access near-real-time information about farm equipment, planting times, soil health, and many other areas of farming. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Ex-CEO Miyoko Schinner and the board of Miyoko’s Creamery agree to go through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). There is “almost no chance the case will go to trial,” according to one source. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Meati expands across the US with grocery retailer Meijer. Meati’s mycelium meat analogues will debut in 260 Meijer locations. (Vegconomist)


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