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Spread's vertical farm. Image credit: Spread

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Vertical farmer Spread raises $30m, McWin launches $500m restaurant fund

August 5, 2022

Kyoto-based Spread set a record for foodtech funding in Japan this week with a Series A raise for its vertical farming operation. Investment firm McWin has launched a fund for restaurants, while Source Global bagged a late-stage round for its drinking water tech and alt-protein startup Paleo unveiled some pre-historic meat analogues.

Agtech funding

🇯🇵 Vertical farming company Spread secures ¥4 billion ($30 million) Series A. The company is best known for its leafy greens but is also working on growing strawberries indoors. (Green Queen)

🇺🇸 AppHarvest secures $50 million across two USDA loans. Funding will go towards completing the indoor farming company’s forthcoming berry farm in Somerset, Kentucky.

🇬🇧 Altruistiq lands £15 million ($18 million) for carbon reporting tech. Molten Ventures led the seed round with participation from Norrsken VC. (

🇺🇸 Source Global scoops up $130 million Series D for drinking-water tech. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Drawdown Fund co-led the round, which Source Global will put towards further innovation in renewable water tech. (FoodBev Media)

🇬🇧 Muddy Machines secures €1.8 million ($1.84 million) seed round led by Regenerate Ventures. The startup plans to build a small herd of its Sprout robots for the 2023 asparagus harvest season. (Startlife Accelerator)

🇺🇸 Shinkei Systems raises $1.3 million for AI-guided fish harvesting. The system automates a traditional Japanese method of fish harvesting. (TechCrunch)

🇦🇺 LYRO Robotics lands $1.5 million pre-Series A. Artesian/Boab AI and AgFunder backed the round, which LYRO will put towards its autonomous farm robots that can pack delicate produce items. (Startup Daily) [Disclosure: AgFunder is AFN’s parent company.]

🇺🇸 🇮🇱 UM6P Ventures invests undisclosed sum in gene-editing startup Climate Crop. The latter is currently focused on improving the resilience of potato and tomato crops critical to the food chain across Africa. (AgNews)

Foodtech funding

🇺🇸 Afresh raises $115 million Series B round led by Spark Capital. Afresh will use funds to roll out its fresh food forecasting and ordering system to more than 2,300 Albertsons grocery stores this year. (Afresh)

🇦🇺 All G Foods bags $25 million to bring down the cost of cultivated milk. Agronomics led the financing, which will give All G Foods access to fermentation facilities as well as the ability to accelerate production. (Vegconomist)

🇦🇺 Alt-plastic startup Great Wrap bags $11 million Series A from impact investors. The company will ramp up production of its compostable, potato-based alternative to plastic stretch wrap. (Startup Daily)

🇬🇧 Clean Food Group completes €1.96 million ($2 million) led by Agronomics. The startup has launched a yeast-based, lab-grown palm oil alternative. (EU Startups)

🇺🇸 Robot delivery startup Ottonomy.IO closes $3.3 million seed round led by Pi Ventures. Ottonomy also announced Ottobot 2.0, the latest version of its indoor/outdoor delivery ‘bot. (OttOmate)

🇬🇧 Milky Plant grabs £340,000 ($414,000) for ‘make-your-own’ plant-based milk machine. The machine ships August 15 and has a waiting list currently 3,200 people deep. (Vegconomist)

🇬🇧 Clean Kitchen Club raises €2.3 million ($2.34 million) seed round. The plant-based QSR chain will use the capital to add 40 new locations around the UK. (

🇺🇸 UM6P Ventures makes undisclosed investment in Akorn Technology. Akorn says its edible produce coating made from upcycled corn by-products can double the shelf-life of food items. (Newswire)

Funds, grants & accelerators

🇨🇿 🇦🇪 McWin raises $500 million ($512 million) to invest in restaurants. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is the primary backer for the newly formed McWin Restaurant Fund. (Bloomberg)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Bayer buys majority stake in gene-edited cover crop startup CoverCress. The remaining 35% of CoverCress will remain with agribusiness Bunge and energy company Chevron U.S.A.. (AFN)

🇩🇰 🇬🇧 Carbon market startup Agreena to acquire UK-based remote-sensing startup Hummingbird Technologies. The acquisition will enable Agreena to bring its operational capacity to Australia and the Americas. (AFN)

🇳🇱 🇮🇳 Animal and fish-feed producer Nutreco buys aquatech company Eruvaka Technologies. The deal is worth between $40 million and $50 million and is an exit for the Eruvaka team and its  primary investor Omnivore. (AFN)

Other news

🇺🇦 🇹🇷 First grain ship leaves Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion. Shipments follow a recent deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations. (Seeking Alpha)

🍄 Fungus could be a weapon against climate change. Some underground fungi can store “exceptional” levels of carbon, help plants survive drought and pests, and feed nutrients to crops. (NY Times)

🇺🇸 McDonald’s concludes US testing of McPlant Burger. The test concluded “as planned” amid reports of low product sales and partner Beyond Meat‘s stock dropping. (Restaurant Dive)

🇺🇸 Walmart will open tiny grocery stores in the Great Outdoors. Via a partnership with hospitality group Getaway, the big-box retailer will open teeny tiny stores that sell food and local goods. (Winsight Grocery Business)

🇫🇷 France temporarily suspends its ban on ‘meaty’ terms for plant-based foods. Protéines France argued that the plant-based industry would not have enough time to make branding and marketing changes. (Food Navigator)

🇧🇪 Paleo is using biochemistry to make plant-based woolly mammoth meat. Mammuthus primigenius joins more mundane meats like chicken and beef as foods Paleo is recreating via precision fermentation. (Food Dive)

🇺🇸 Giant Foods & Loop launch reusable packaging program. Loop’s service lets customers buy goods in reusable containers, and will land in Giant stores in the Washington, D.C. area this fall. (Grocery Dive)

🇺🇸 MyForest Foods Co. will open ‘world’s largest’ AirMycelium vertical farm. The company uses mycelium to make its plant-based bacon product. (Vegconomist)

🇨🇱 🇲🇽 NotCo inks deal with Mexican QSR Group Alsea. The partnership will put NotCo’s plant-based products across numerous outlets in Mexico, including Starbucks and Burger King. (Vegconomist)

🇧🇷 Givaudan, Bühler & Cargill parter to build a tropical food innovation lab. Companies aim for the Brazil facility to be the ‘go-to-place in Latin America to connect and develop sustainable food and beverage products.’ (Nutritional Outlook)

🇺🇸 🇮🇳 Uber sells its stake in Indian food delivery company Zomato for $393 million. Zomato’s shares have lost more than half their value over the last year. (WSJ)

🇮🇳 Speaking of Zomato, the company plans to rebrand to Eternal. The new name will encompass Zomato’s main business as well as its portfolio companies Blinkit, Hyperpure, and Feeding India. (Economic Times)

🇺🇸 Indigo Ag chief commercial officer Karsten Neuffer steps down. Neuffer starts a new position as CEO of sustainable ag startup RiceTec Inc. (LinkedIn)

🇺🇸 Danny Meyer will resign as CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. Current president and COO Chip Wade will succeed Meyer, who formed the company 37 years ago and will remain its executive chairman. (Restaurant Dive)

🇮🇱 A new cultivated seafood company, E-FISHient Protein, aims to build “fleshy” tilapia analogues. The new startup is a joint venture between BioMeat Foodtech and the Volcani Institute. (Food Navigator)

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