Black soldier fly. Image credit: Protix

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Protix bags $57m for bugs, Endless West gets $60m for molecular spirits

February 10, 2022

This week, the Netherlands’ Protix bagged big bucks for insect protein, while US-based Cooks Venture secured capital to breed slower-growing chickens.

Over in the cryptocurrency world, an initiative born as a joke might actually wind up as a fast food restaurant.

[Disclosure: AFN’s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Greenlight Biosciences, which is mentioned below.]


Foodtech startup funding

🇺🇸 Restaurant staff management platform 7shifts raises $80 million. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round, which 7shifts will use to grow its team and build products for its digital platform. (Fast Casual)

🇺🇸 Endless West raises $60 million Series C capital to expand its molecular spirits technology. The San Francisco-based company makes sustainable, artificially ‘aged’ whiskies and other spirits. (Forbes)

🇳🇱 Insect protein startup Protix raises $57 million. Proceeds will go towards further international expansion and R&D for the company, which produces ingredients from black soldier flies. (Protix)

🇺🇸 Purely Elizabeth closes $50 million funding round. The Series B financing will drive investment in new products, e-commerce, and marketing for the natural foods brand. (Prepared Foods)

🇺🇸 Splendid Spoon raises $12 million in Series B funds. The new round will allow Splendid Spoon to scale its core product line of plant-based bowls, soups, and smoothies. (Splendid Spoon)

🇺🇸 Grocery startup Zero bags $11.8 million. The seed funding will go towards expansion of the startup’s two-hour “eco-delivery” service that drops off groceries in plastic-free containers. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Plant-based patty maker Everything Legendary closes $6 million Series A. CircleUp Growth Partners led the round, which also included participation from General Mills‘ venture arm 301 Inc and Mark Cuban. (Food Dive)

🇫🇷 Bolk bags $4.6 million. This is the first funding round for the robotic catering startup, and will help it to gain initial market share. (Retail Tech Innovation Hub)

🇺🇸 Crypto community FriesDAO raises $4.4 million in one week. The group, born as a joke on Discord, plans to buy a fast-food restaurant franchise with the money – possibly a Subway. (The Spoon)

🇻🇳 Rino gets $3 million pre-seed for 10-minute grocery deliveries in Vietnamese cities. The ‘dark store’ operator secured funding from Global Founders Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Venturra Discovery, and Saison Capital, among others. (TechCrunch)

🇦🇺 Plant-based foods maker Fënn Foods raises $3 million. Fënn, which makes a range of alt-meat items, says it aims to have net-zero emissions for all its products by 2022. (Vegconomist)

🇸🇪 Petgood raises 19 million kronor ($2.1 million) for insect-based dog food; expands to Australia. The startup sources insect protein from Protix (see above.) (Petgood)

🇮🇩 East Ventures leads $1.5 million seed round for Bananas. Speedy grocery delivery service Bananas will use the funds to open ‘dark stores’ and break into the quick commerce business in Indonesia. (DealStreetAsia)

Agtech startup funding

🇺🇸 Cooks Venture secures $50 million financing. The slow-growing chicken breeder will use the money to expand its genetics program and build out infrastructure. (Meat+Poultry)

🇮🇱 Ag intelligence startup Agritask banks $26 million. It will use the funds to develop new products for its digital ag operations platform, scale up sales and marketing, and increase hiring. (ImpactAlpha)

🇲🇽 Sistema.bio closes over $15 million in Series B financing to scale clean energy tech for farmers. The company, which provides biodigesters that convert waste into energy, operates in Mexico, Colombia, Kenya, and India. (Sistema.bio)

🇪🇪 eAgronom raises $7.4 for Series A round. The Estonian farm management software company wants to create a carbon credits platform for agriculture and expand beyond the EU with the new funds. (eAgronom)

🇨🇦 Wyvern scores $4 million. Canada’s Sustainable Development Technology (SDTC) program provided the funding, which comes on the heels of Wyvern’s recent $4 million seed round. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 ‘Natural’ herbicide company Harpe Bioherbicide Solutions closes $3 million round. It’ll use the capital to strengthen its portfolio of plant-based active compounds. (Harpe)

🇮🇳 EekiFoods bags $2 million. The startup, which grows residue-free staple vegetables through its ‘Plant Growth System,’ will deploy the funds to expand its business and upgrade its technology. (Economic Times)

🇧🇷 Ag fintech company AgroForte raises $1.13 million. AgroForte offers credit to small, rural producers in Brazil and expects to disburse around $28 million in financing over the next 18 months. (Contxto)

🇨🇳 AIForceTech secures undisclosed amount in Series A-plus round. The deal will allow the ag-focused autonomous driving startup to carry out further R&D and product development. (Pandaily)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Greenlight Biosciences completes $1.2 billion SPAC merger to list on Nasdaq. The AgFunder-backed company develops RNA products for agriculture and human health, including Covid-19 vaccines. (AFN)

🇺🇸🇫🇷 ADM and InnovaFeed enter insect protein partnership. The Paris-based startup will supply its black soldier fly protein to ADM’s pet foods division. (AFN)

🇮🇩 Cloud kitchen startup Yummy Corp acquires order management platform Listee. Yummy Corp said the deal will help it expand to serve more vendors across Indonesia. (Kompas)

🇨🇭🇺🇸 Nestlé Health Science to purchase majority stake in Orgain. The latter specializes in organic, plant-based ingredients – including its popular protein powder available to US consumers. (Nestlé)

🇫🇷 Elicit Plant raises $18.2 million to advance phytosterol-based solution for water stress. Sofinnova Partners led the Series A round, with support from ECBF, Bpifrance, and several existing investors. (Elicit Plant)

🇿🇦 Private equity group Phatisa funds management buyout of animal health company Deltamune. Agrifood-focused Phatisa said the deal for the vaccine producer aligns with its enhanced strategic focus on food security. (BusinessDay)

Funds, grants & accelerators

🇺🇸 US Department of Agriculture commits $1 billion to ‘climate-smart commodities.’ The agency will fund pilot projects that “create market opportunities” for commodities “produced using [farming, ranching or forestry] practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.” (AFN)

🇺🇸 Early Beyond Meat backer Unovis Asset Management closes second fund on $166 million. Credit Suisse, Fuji Oil, Griffith Foods, Invest-NL, and Unigestion are among the LPs to have made commitments to the fund, which will invest in alt-protein ventures. (Forbes)

🇰🇷 Envisioning Partners closes $64 million impact fund. The Envisioning Climate Solutions Fund is backed by South Korean corporations pursuing ESG and decarbonization targets. (TechCrunch)

🇮🇪 Kerry Group launches $6.8 million sustainability program. More than 3,000 farming families in Ireland will participate in the initiative, which will provide technical and financial support to dairy farmers transitioning to regenerative ag practices. (Dairy Reporter)

🇺🇸 University of Florida gets over $2 million to breed tomatoes for indoor farming. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research’s Precision Indoor Plants consortium is providing the grant “to define and enhance the physical and genetic traits in tomatoes” and make them suitable for controlled environment agriculture. (Horti Daily)

Other news

🇨🇳 Cultivated meat included under China’s Five-Year Plan for the first time. A policy document published by the country’s agriculture ministry also highlights synthetic egg analogs and recombinant proteins as specific areas of interest. (AFN)

🌐 “Double climate dividend” awaits high-income countries that adopt plant-based diet, study says. Populations that switch to the EAT-Lancet Planetary Health Diet will both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost carbon sequestration, according to the paper published in Nature. (AFN)

🌐 Study: Major corporates will fall short of their stated net-zero emissions goals. Nestlé, Unilever, and Carrefour were among the companies named in a new report from German think tank NewClimate Institute and non-profit Carbon Market Watch. (Eco-Business)

🇺🇸 Danforth Center establishes tech venture. The plant science institute has established the wholly-owned Danforth Technology Company to spin-out technologies it has developed into startups. (Danforth Center)

🇮🇳 Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli invest in plant-based meat company Blue Tribe. The vegan celebrity couple is also joining the brand as ambassadors. (Inc42)

🇮🇳 Meanwhile, fellow Indian plant-based meat brand Gooddot has called on the talents of Neeraj Chopra. The Olympian javelin thrower, who won India’s first-ever track-and-field gold at the event last year, has appeared in new TV ads for the company. (Business Insider)

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