Image credit: Kitchen United.

The Week in Agrifoodtech: FreshRealm, Kitchen United score mega-deals in a downturn, Arable raises $40m

July 28, 2022

Despite the current downturn in tech, FreshRealm landed a mega-deal recently, as did ghost kitchen network Kitchen United. In agtech, Normative bagged funds for its carbon reporting platform and old favorites like donuts and avocados are got makeovers with sustainability in mind.


Foodtech funding

🇺🇸 Meal kit service FreshRealm lands $200 million round led by undisclosed investors. FreshRealm will invest the new capital into technology that can strengthen the company’s supply chain and sourcing. (Crunchbase)

🇺🇸 Kroger, Circle K & others invest $100 million into Kitchen United. The ghost kitchen operator will expand from 15 locations to more than 500 over the next five years, thanks to the investment. (Grocery Dive)

🇺🇸 Conscious Cultures Creamery rebrands as Bandit, raises $1.5 million. Prime Movers Lab led the seed round for the vegan cheese company, whose main ingredient base is cashew. (FoodBev Media)

🇺🇸 Hawaii’s Holey Grail Donuts bags $9 million to expand its taro root donut concept to Los Angeles. The figure combines both a Series A round, led by Collaborative Fund and Lee Fixel, and a seed round led by True Ventures. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Chipotle invests in kitchen automation startup. Hyphen, whose ‘robotic makeline’ can make over 350 meals in an hour, has joined Chipotle’s $50 million Cultivate Next fund. (CNBC)

🇬🇧 McDonalds ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook invests in vegan QSR chain. London’s Clean Kitchen Club says it has already sold over 50,000 ‘burgers’ and is seeing 30% month-on-month growth. (Vegconomist)

🇸🇪 Fats and oils giant AAK invests undisclosed amount into Green-On. Foodtech startup Green-On’s technology makes fats and oils from carbon dioxide, renewable energy, and water. (Food Business News)

Agtech startup funding

🇸🇪 Carbon accounting startup Normative raises €31 million ($32 million) Series B led by Blume Equity. The company helps companies measure their Scope 3 emissions and will expand its supply chain measurement services with the new funding. (Tech.eu)

🇺🇸 Agricultural intelligence platform Arable raises $40 million Series C round. Arable provides farmers with access to data on weather, soil, plant health, and other parts of the environment for better decision-making. (BusinessWire)

🇺🇸 Nufarm leads $70 million Series C for crop protection startup Enko. Funding will go towards advancing Enko’s product pipeline of crop protection chemistries that can replace outdated herbicides and pesticides. (AFN)

🇮🇳 Growcoms raises $1.1 million pre-Series A round led by Info Edge Ventures. Growcoms will use the new capital to scale up its tech platform that aims to make the spices value chain more efficient and less fragmented. (Entrepreneur India)

🇮🇪 CropBiome secures €1.3 million round led by Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN). CropBiome’s “seed dressings” can coat the raw seeds of mass-produced crops and protect them from drought and negative impacts of fertilizers. (EU-Startups)

🇩🇪 Root Global picks up €2.5 million to help companies reduce carbon. The pre-seed financing round was led by Project A with the participation of Nucleus and a large group of angel investors. (Tech.eu)

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Ginkgo Bioworks to acquire biotech and cell engineering company Zymergen for $300 million. The deal comes at the end of a lengthy downhill trajectory for Zymergen’s business. (AFN)

🇺🇸 🇮🇳 Perfect Day will likely acquire gelatin manufacturer Sterling Biotech. As the winning bidder at an auction, Perfect Day will now need to complete various compliance processes before the deal can complete. (AFN)

Funds, grants & accelerators

🇺🇸 Valor Siren Ventures closes $595 million foodtech fund. The fund will support early-stage companies and entrepreneurs in foodtech, retail tech and sustainability. (Food Business News)

🇭🇰 The Good Food Accelerator Program will invest $10 million in Asia-based vegan food startups. Through the accelerator, Brinc and Asian culinary platform DayDayCook will fund 45 startups over the next three years. (Vegconomist)

Other news

🇺🇸 PepsiCo closes $1.25 billion green bond. CPG giant Pepsi will use the 10-year green bond decarbonization of its operations, plastic waste reduction, regenerative agriculture, and pursuing net-positive water impact. (Environment + Energy Leader)

🇺🇸 The US is still grappling with a baby formula shortage. NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe talks with food policy reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich about the latest on the shortage and when caregivers may get relief. (NPR)

🇺🇸 Nature’s Fynd boards SpaceX‘s latest mission. The alt-meat company has put a vegan fungi protein bioreactor onboard the SpaceX-25 to test and develop sustainable proteins for space. (VegNews)

🇦🇪 The latest leather alternative comes from upcycled river tamarind pods. UAE-based architect Nuhayr Zein has developed a material, dubbed Leukeather, made from the Leucaena tree, a fast-growing plant that requires little water and is already on many farms. (Vegconomist)

🇺🇸 Food delivery companies are rethinking their businesses to cope with the downturn. Grubhub and others must reduce costs and exit unprofitable markets in response to the current “cost-of-living crunch” consumers face. (Reuters)

🇮🇪 Spirits company Diageo to construct a ‘carbon-neutral’ brewery. Diageo says the Ireland facility will be powered by 100% renewable energy and able to reduce carbon emissions by up to 15,000 metric tons a year. (FoodBev Media)

🇬🇧 Beans, apples & other British ingredients used in avocado analogue. A recent graduate from University of Arts London’s Central Saint Martins college created the “Evocado” to showcase a more sustainable version of the popular food. (Food Matters Live)

🇺🇸 Lunchbox lays off 33% of its staff. The online ordering platform for restaurants said the company had become “bloated” and would cut 60 employees. (Business Insider)

🇨🇳 Lab-Grown meatballs ‘ready’ for mass production. Researchers from Tsinghua University and Nanjing Agricultural University say they have developed a “cell factory” to accelerate and industrialize production of cultivated meat. (SCMP)

🇮🇱 🇨🇭 SuperMeat signs deal with Swiss supermarket chain Migros. Pending regulatory approval, the partnership will ‘expedite production and distribution’ of cultivated meat. (PR Newswire)

🇺🇸 Zero Acre Farms launches ‘cultured’ cooking oil for consumers. The company uses microbial fermentation to produce oils and fats it claims are more nutritious and sustainable than other products. (Food Navigator)

🇺🇸 San Francisco weakens 15% delivery fee cap law. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance exempting companies from the fee cap if they ‘offer restaurants and other clients a “core delivery service” that costs 15% or less than the price of an online order.’ (Restaurant Dive)

🇺🇸 Huue closes $14.6m Series A round for clean-label denim dye. Material Impact led the round, which Huue will use to scale up its denim dye products for the fashion industry. (Green Queen)

🇨🇦 TELUS Agriculture expands scope, becomes TELUS Agriculture & Consumer Goods. The rebranded unit aims to offer data insights with participants “across the entire value chain” from seed growers to retailers. (Yahoo Finance)

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