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The Choco team. Image credit: Choco

The Week in Agrifoodtech: E-grocer BigBasket bags $131m, Choco lands $111m to fight food waste

April 14, 2022

This week, India’s BigBasket raised more than $100 million for online grocery delivery, as did Germany’s Choco to curb food waste by connecting restaurants to suppliers. New Zealand’s Leaft closed funding to make alt-protein from leaves. In ag tech, soil health startup Terramera received grant money. Also this week: plenty of news around food robots as well as a Hong Kong-based company 3D-printing Waygu beef analogues.

Agtech startup funding

🇺🇸 John Kempf and Advancing Eco Agriculture raise $4.7 million to further regenerative ag practices in North America. Tree Trunk Light and other non-equity financiers led the round, which is the company’s first external funding. (AFN)

🇦🇪 Right Farm bags $2.8 million in seed funding. DisruptAD and Enhance Ventures led the round for the B2B platform that sources produce from local and international farms to supply the retail sector. (Reuters

🇨🇦 Soil health startup Terramera gets $1 million grant from British Columbia’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund. Terramera is developing low-cost soil health and soil carbon quantification technology using proprietary sensors, imaging, and data analytics. (Terramera

Foodtech startup funding

🇮🇳 E-grocery startup BigBasket raises $131 million from its holding company Supermarket Grocery Supplies. Tata-owned BigBasket also plans to roll out one-hour grocery delivery for more than 7,500 products. (Deal Street Asia

🇩🇪 Choco brings its valuation to $1.2 billion with $111 million Series B2. G Squared alongside Insight Partners led the round for the Berlin-based startup tackling food waste in the supply chain with digital ordering software. (PR Newswire)

🇺🇸 General Mills301 INC venture arm invests $15 million in funds for minority and female entrepreneurs. Investments in Fearless Fund and Supply Change Capital are part of General Mills’ larger plan to improve racial and gender equity representation. (BusinessWire

🇨🇳 Haofood closes $3.5 million seed round for its peanut-based chicken alternative. Monde Nissin CEO Henry Soesanto, ProVeg International, and Big Idea Ventures participated in the round. (Vegconomist)

🇺🇸 Ginkgo Bioworks and Elanco launch an animal health company. BiomEdit, will discover, produce and innovate on novel products and services for animal health and monitoring. (AFN)

🇳🇿 Leaft Foods raises $15 million Series A from Khosla Ventures, others. Leaft extracts “RuBisCo,” a vital part of the photosynthesis process, to get its protein and will use the new funds to build out R&D. (Food Ingredients First)

Other news

🇺🇸 Del Monte pledges net zero emissions by 2050. The canned fruit and vegetable company says it will make changes to its own operations, including packaging innovations, regenerative agriculture, and automation, rather than offsetting emissions through carbon credits. (Food Dive

🇨🇳 Yili says it will be carbon neutral by 2050. The Chinese dairy giant’s path to neutrality will happen in three phases throughout its value chain. Yili already has the first net-zero factory for China’s food industry up and running. (Pro Food World

🇬🇧 UK becomes first country to regulate CBD products as food. Regulator the Food Standards Agency and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry compiled a list of 3,500 CBD products allowed for sale in England and Wales. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Miso Robotics tests coffee-monitoring system at Panera. The US-based QSR chain will use Miso’s CookRight Coffee system that uses AI-powered cameras and machine learning to monitor volume and temperature of coffee as well as when to replace it. (TechCrunch

🇹🇷 🇺🇸 Turkish “instant delivery” startup Getir partners with food redistribution startup Copia. Using Copia’s technology, Getir will provide surplus food and groceries to its stores to nonprofits in New York City, Boston, and Chicago. (PR Newswire

🇺🇸 One-third of restaurant-goers don’t want to see robots make their food. A survey from agency Big Red Rooster found that 30% of diners would be skeptical about seeing bots prepare or deliver food, though nearly half said they like the idea of robots busing tables and cleaning. (Restaurant Dive

🇨🇳 Meituan will lay off 10-20% of delivery staff. The cuts come a few days after Meituan announced it had added 17,000 jobs from July 2021 to mid-March 2022. (South China Morning Post

🇭🇰 Alt Farm unveils 3D-printed plant-based A5 Waygu beef. The company uses pea, soy, and algae protein to recreate one of the world’s most premium meat products and says China and Australia are key markets in which it hopes to launch within 18 months. (Food Navigator

🇺🇸 Crop genetics company Benson Hill partners with Kellogg’s-owned MorningStar Farms. Benson Hill will supply MorningStar with soy ingredients for alt-meat products. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Grocery planning/shopping platform eMeals acquires meal planning app RecipeBox. The latter will remain a separate brand for now and will allow eMeals to expand its geographical reach. (Progressive Grocer

🇺🇸 🇫🇮 Starship Technologies expands robotic delivery to Finland. The robot delivery startup is working with the Alepa grocery chain and is now delivering from six stores in the city of Espoo. (OttOmate

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