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A fleet of Starship delivery robots. Image credit: Starship Technologies

The Week in Agrifoodtech: Starship Technologies nets $42m, Singapore hawkers serve cell-based meat

March 3, 2022

This week, US-based Starship Technologies raised funding to take its food delivery robots into new markets; while the Netherlands’ secured seed capital to smarten up greenhouses. Elsewhere, animal-free cheese got another boost – and Singapore’s famed street food hawkers served cultivated meat to the general public for the first time.

Foodtech startup funding

🇺🇸 Softbank Vision Fund 2 leads e-grocer Weee!‘s $425 million Series E round. The service will expand its offerings of hard-to-find Asian and Latin foods to more places in the US. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Starship raises almost $100 million in a month. The maker of food delivery robots scored $42 million in Series B funding less than 30 days after its €50 million ($55 million) infusion from the European Investment Bank. (OttOmate

🇸🇪 Swedish biotech startup Mycorena raises 24 million ($26.8 million) for mycelium protein. This is the largest Series A round ever for a Nordic startup in alternative protein. (AFN

🇬🇧 Animal-free cheese gets a boost with Better Dairy’s $22 million Series A. Using precision fermentation, the startup is developing entirely vegan hard and aged cheeses. (TechCrunch)

🇮🇱 DisruptiveAI leads $17 million Series A for Tastewise. Food and beverage companies can use the Tastewise AI platform to test new ingredients and products and predict the next big trends in the industry. (CTech)

🇺🇸 Flashfood bags $12.3 million Series A funding to fight food waste, food insecurity. S2G Ventures led the round, which will go towards Flashfood’s expansion to more US and Canadian grocery stores. (AFN)

🇸🇬 Cellular ag startup Unami Meats nabs $2.4 million in pre-seed funding. The Singapore company has earmarked funding for continued R&D of the company’s cultivated seafood products. Better Bite Ventures and CULT Food Science  were among the participating investors. (Umami Meats) 

🇿🇦 CULT Food Science has also backed precision fermentation company De Novo Dairy. South Africa’s De Novo develops recombinant milk proteins through fermentation and hopes to bring a wide range of dairy alternatives to market. (Food Navigator

🇪🇸 Alt-bacon maker Libre Foods raises €2.2 million ($2.5 million). The Barcelona-based startup plans to expand its mushroom-based product line from bacon to whole-cut beef and chicken. Green Generation Fund led the round with Good Seed Ventures, ProVeg International, and Veg Capital joining in. (Green Queen)

🇬🇧 CellulaREvolution scores £1.75 million ($2.38 million) pre-Series A financing. The Newcastle University spinout is working on “continuous cell culturing technologies” for the cultured meat industry. Hong Kong’s Happiness Capital led the round; Allusion One also invested. (Vegconomist)

🇩🇪 Keen 4 Greens raises $2 million for fermented mycelium product. The company will pursue developing whole cuts of plant-based meat to go along with the nuggets and burgers it already makes. (Green Queen

Agtech startup funding

🇳🇱 Dutch startup secures $10 million for greenhouse software. Source claims its data and AI tools can make greenhouses and indoor farming more efficient and with higher yields. (Silicon Canals

🇮🇩 Ag marketplace AgriAku raises $6 million to democratize farmer access to inputs. The Jakarta-based marketplace links sellers of fertilizers, seeds, and other inputs with local ag stores that serve smallholder farmers. GoTo‘s Go-Ventures led the pre-Series A round. (AFN)

🇺🇸 ‘Regenerative’ e-tailer 99 Counties closes $3.8 million pre-seed round. It will officially launch its marketplace, which helps farmers sell their regeneratively-raised meat to consumers, in its native Iowa later this year. (TechCrunch

🇪🇬 FreshSource, which says it is reinventing the ag supply chain, has closed a seven-figure US dollar seed funding round. The Cairene startup connects farmers to produce buyers such as hotels and restaurants in 11 Egyptian cities. 4DX Ventures and Wamda invested in the round. (Disrupt Africa)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇮🇱🇺🇸 Phytolon and Ginkgo Bioworks collaborate on food colorants. The Israeli startup and US biofacturing platform will develop new, “natural” pigments across the yellow-to-purple spectrum through precision fermentation of yeast. (Phytolon)

🇺🇸 Food delivery app DoorDash acquires restaurant ordering platform Bbot. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Fast Company

🇮🇳 Cloud kitchen firm Kitchens@ merges with Kitchens Centre. The merger makes the former one of the biggest ghost kitchen players in India with 1,000 facilities across 20 cities. (Economic Times)

Other news

🇸🇬 Eat Just’s GOOD Meat brings cultivated chicken to hawker stalls. Singapore’s world-famous food hawkers will feature GOOD’s chicken bites in their dishes in what is the latest expansion for the company in the city-state. (The Straits Times

🇮🇱 Tnuva launches new venture capital fund. Tnuva NEXTwill invest NIS 30 million ($9.28 million) in Israeli foodtech startups in 2022 after investing the same amount in companies last year. (The Times of Israel

🇨🇦 Canada approves world’s first plant-based Covid-19 vaccine. Local biopharma company Medicago developed the vaccine, which was found to be 71% effective in clinical trials against Delta and Gamma variants. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Amazon opens first Whole Foods with cashierless tech in Washington, DC. Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology lets customers choose their grocery items then bypass the traditional checkout process. (The Verge

🇺🇸 Nonprofit Conscious Alliance and plant-based protein company ALOHA launch campaign for hunger relief. The two are calling on other food brands to bring donations, monetary contributions, and social media posts. (ALOHA)

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