Mr. Yum's QR code-based software at work. Image credit: Mr Yum

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Mr Yum, FJDynamics & Back to the Roots bag big fundings

December 2, 2021

This week, Aussie startup Mr Yum, which makes QR code-based ordering and payments software for hospitality companies, raised one of the Lucky Country’s biggest Series A rounds ever; while farm robotics company FJDynamics scored big money from a mystery internet firm, and alt-protein player Meati appointed a food industry veteran as its new president.


Foodtech startup funding

🇦🇺 Restaurant tech platform Mr Yum raises A$89 million ($65 million) in Series A funding. Tiger Global led the round, which will help the Australian startup expand its ordering and payments platform for the hospitality industry. (SmartCompany)

🇺🇸 Pepper raises $16 million in Series A funding. The company, which makes digital ordering tech for food distributors, aims to work with over 25,000 restaurants and grocery stores in North America. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Spoiler Alert raises $11 million to help CPG brands sell surplus inventory and cut food waste. The startup will use the funds to expand its team and bring new features and capabilities to its platform. (AFN)

🇫🇷 Pyxo raises $7.9 million from Eurazeo, FiveSeasons Ventures, and others. The French startup is creating a network for reusable containers for restaurants and food delivery businesses. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Aanika Biosciences raises $12 million to boost food traceability with edible microbial tags. The new funds will help with scaling up the company’s platform and also go towards construction of a new 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Brooklyn. (AFN).

🇺🇸 Plant-based food company Mosaic Foods raises $6 million. Proceeds from the seed round led by Gather Ventures will go towards development of new frozen meals and growing direct-to-consumer and offline channels. (Mosaic Foods)

🇩🇪 Perfeggt readies its chicken-less egg alternative with $2.8 million fundraise. Proceeds of this first institutional round will go towards launching a liquid egg alternative in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in early 2022. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Hooray Foods raises $2.7 million. Ex-Dunkin’ CEO David Hoffman, Lyra Growth Partners, Evolution VC Partners, Gaingels, and Sand Hill Angels participated in the round for the plant-based meat-maker. (San Francisco Business Times)

🇨🇳 SF Express-owned Phoenix-Wings completes Series A round. The cargo drone company will use the round of “several hundred million yuan” to conduct further research on bringing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) tech into the logistics industry. (Pandaily)

Agtech startup funding

🇨🇳 FJDynamics raises $70 million to make manual labor easier. The Shenzhen-based startup, founded by a former exec from dronemaker DJI, said it’ll use the Series B funds to “grow its suite of robotics automation technology across agriculture, facility management, construction, and gardening.” An undisclosed “major internet firm in China” was the sole investor in the round. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Organic gardening startup Back To The Roots bags $15 million. The Californian company’s Series D funds will go towards developing new products for indoor and outdoor gardening as well as expanding distribution. (FinSMEs)

🇮🇩 Jala Tech raises $6 million. The Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund led the investment into Jala Tech, which uses a proprietary hardware and data platform to improve the sustainability of shrimp farming. (The Fish Site)

🇨🇦 Lucent BioSciences to offer alternative fertilizers after $4.2 million seed round. The new funds will be used to accelerate development and manufacturing of the startup’s ‘sustainable’ fertilizers. (Lucent BioSciences)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇨🇳 Ag dronemaker XAG to debut on the STAR Market. The company plans to raise ¥1.51 billion ($235 million) through its float on the tech-focused exchange. Proceeds will go towards construction of an R&D facility, among other things. (Pandaily)

🇺🇸 NovaQuest Capital Management acquires TechAccel’s interest in Covenant Animal Health Partners. The investment in Covenant will assist NovaQuest in furthering innovation in animal health. (NovaQuest)

🇸🇦 Jahez announces IPO plans. The food delivery startup intends to list on the parallel market of the Saudi stock exchange in what will be the kingdom’s first tech startup IPO. (Bloomberg)

🇳🇱🇳🇴 DSM acquires Norwegian pea protein producer Vestkorn Milling in a deal worth $73.7 million. The Norwegian company’s portfolio of ingredients is “highly complementary” to DSM’s own growing lineup of plant-based offerings, according to the company. (AFN)

🇩🇰🇮🇪 Sundew acquires MicroSynbiotiX. The latter’s algal RNA interference tech will help Sundew to develop products that combat aquatic pests and diseases. (Sundew

Funds & accelerators

🇫🇷 Safe Seaweed Coalition awards €700,000 ($800,000) to 15 seaweed projects. Funds from the organization are aimed at unlocking the full potential of seaweed in the food system and improving the safety of the global seaweed sector as it scales up. (The Fish Site)

🇺🇸 BCD Bioscience and Enagon win The Wonderful Company’s $1 million innovation challenge. The pair were selected to design new solutions for 50,000 tons of pomegranate biomass. (The Wonderful Company)

Other news

🇮🇳 Meati adds food industry vet to leadership. The mushroom-based meat startup has appointed Scott Tassani as its new president. Tassani most recently served as president and chief customer officer at General Mills, and also previously worked at The Pillsbury Company. (Meati)

🇮🇳 Online grocery platform BigBasket will enter the offline retail space with its first tech-driven ‘unstaffed’ store. The location is one of 200 the company plans to open across India by 2023. (CNBC)

🇬🇧 Protein made from stranded methane could prove a compelling alternative source of fishmeal. Researchers say currently available technology can produce enough protein-rich biomass through a methane-capture process to help reduce demand for ocean-caught fishmeal. (Nature)

🇮🇳 B2B e-commerce site Udaan will enter the consumer-facing grocery business. Price Company, Udaan’s new platform, will use a group-buying model similar to that of Pinduoduo or DealShare. (Economic Times

🇮🇳 Zomato launches Wings to help restaurants raise investments. The on-demand food delivery app will facilitate fundraising for its restaurant partners through this new venture. (Mint)

🇺🇸 Kroger and Kipster Farm partner to bring carbon-neutral eggs to US grocery stores. Kroger’s Simple Truth brand will work with Kipster to produce “zero-waste” eggs via a closed-loop system, according to the two companies. (Kroger)

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