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A Rice Robotics delivery 'bot. Image credit: Rice Robotics

The Week in AgriFoodTech: Keurig Dr Pepper bets $300m on coffee, Simbe Robotics scores $28m

July 20, 2023

Big news this week came from CPG Keurig Dr Pepper, which scooped up a 33% stake in a coffee company, while several food robotics companies that raised new funding. Elsewhere, US-based CubicAcres raised funding and launched a partnership with an AgFunder portfolio company and Grit Road Partners closed a fund for agtech startups.

A Rice Robotics delivery ‘bot. Image credit: Rice Robotics

Foodtech funding

🇺🇸 Simbe Robotics scores $28 million Series B for inventory robots. VC firm Eclipse led the round, which Simbe will use to expand globally. (Grocery Dive)

🇨🇳 Botinkit raises $13 million Series A for its stir-frying kitchen robotics system. Investors to the round include 5Y Capital and Brizan Venture. (TechCrunch)

🇸🇦 Kaso raises $10.5 million seed round from BY VP, Hala Ventures & others. Funding will expand Kaso’s B2B platform that digitizes procurement for restaurants. (FoodBev Media)

🇭🇰 Rice Robotics scores $7 million pre-Series A for its delivery bot. The company will expand into new markets, with a special focus on Japan. (The Robot Report)

Image credit: CubicAcres/IGS

Agtech funding

🇮🇱 Irrigation tech firm N-Drip raises $44 million Series C. Asset manager Liechtenstein Group led the round, which brings N-Drip’s total funding to $80 million. (The Times of Israel)

🇬🇧 Carbon removal platform Isometric lands £19 million ($25 million). Lowercarbon Capital and Plural Platform led the round. (UKTN)

🇫🇷 Fintech startup finres lands €4.1 million ($4.6 million) to help drive better investments in agriculture. Speedinvest and Illuminate Financial Management led the round. (Tech.eu)

🇺🇸 CubicAcres raises $3.7 million, strikes partnership with Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS). The two will build a fully automated vertical farm in Long Island, New York. (Vertical Farm Daily) [Disclosure: AgFunderNews parent company AgFunder is an investor in IGS.]

🇨🇭 Gaia Tech closes pre-seed round from Venture Kick & others. Gaia will start pilot production of its cosmetic ingredients made from agricultural byproduct. (LinkedIn)

Image credit: La Colombe

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Keurig Dr Pepper pays $300 million for 33% stake in coffee company La Colombe. The deal includes agreements for a sales, distribution and licensing. (Food Dive)

🇮🇳 Agribusiness marketplace DeHaat partners with two global biological input companies. DeHaat will exclusively sell products from US-based Global BioAg Innovation (GBI) and Australia’s Aussan Laboratorie. (AFN)

🇹🇭 E-commerce giant LINE MAN Wongnai buys restaurant POS company FoodStory. LINE MAN will expand its restaurant management system across Thailand. (TechNode Global)

🇺🇸 Ingredients company Symrise makes minority stake investment in startup Bonumose. The “strategic partnership” will accelerate Symrise’s efforts around developing sugar reduction products. (Symrise)

🇮🇱 🇦🇺 BeeHero brings its hive-monitoring tech to Australia via partnership with Monson’s Honey and Pollination. This is BeeHero’s first foray into the Australian market. (No Camels)

🇺🇸 John Deere acquires precision spraying equipment company Smart Apply. The latter makes an upgrade kit for air-blast sprayers to improve performance in orchards, vineyards and tree nurseries. (Deere)

Funds, grants & accelerators

🇺🇸 Omaha, Nebraska-based Grit Road Partners closes $11 million fund for seed stage agtech startups. The fund’s thesis is to invest in companies solving problems for Midwest US agricultural producers. (Grit Road)

🇦🇺 Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) gets AUD $5 million ($3.3 million) grant from the Western Australian Government. The company will scale up production of an oat milk enriched with lupin-derived protein. (Vegconomist)

A DiGiorno wheat field. Image credit: Nestlé

Other news

🇬🇧 “Instant” grocery service Getir is closing its UK warehouses. Getir is rumored to be insolvent and scrambling to raise new funds as it faces potential shutdown in Britain. (Sifted)

🇺🇸 MycoTechnology unveils truffle-based sweetener to replace sugar. The honey-based truffle comes on the heels of recent linkage between artificial sweetener aspartame and cancer. (Green Queen)

🇺🇸 Bowery to expand via Amazon Fresh partnership. The deal will bring Bowery’s indoor-grown salad greens to more customers on the US east coast. (Vertical Farm Daily)

🇨🇭 Nestlé to use more regenerative agriculture practices to grow wheat for its DiGiorno frozen pizza brand. The CPG is partnering with ADM and Ardent Mills, two key wheat suppliers for the DiGiorno brand. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Nutrient discovery platform Brightseed forms the Bioactives Coalition. The coalition aims to advance awareness and inclusion of bioactives in food and healthcare. (AFN)

🇦🇺 Australia releases sustainability rules to curb corporate greenwashing. The guidance follows findings that 57% of companies examined made “concerning claims” about their environmental credentials. (ESG Today)

🇺🇸 Amazon will launch pay-by-palm technology at all Whole Foods stores by the end of 2023. The biometric technology allows users to pay for items by simply scanning their palm, which is linked to a credit card. (CNBC)

🇺🇸 Square Roots halts production on Kenosha indoor container farm, lays off staff. This follows the closure of Square Roots’ Brooklyn farm and subsequent layoffs earlier this year. (Kenosha News)

🇺🇸 Cargill and TREES Consulting to develop framework for methane emissions reduction. The framework has been approved by WWF’s Gold Standard certification process. (Cargill)

🇺🇸 Restaurant tech company Toast ditches 99-cent processing fee after backlash. Consumers were charged the fee on orders of $10 or more placed online. (Restaurant Dive)

🇺🇸 InnerPlant wins USDA/APHIS approval for flagship commercial product. Its soybean fungal sensor is currently undergoing field testing; commercial launch is slated for 2025. (AgroPages)

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