Swiss alt-protein startup Planted raised Series B funding to expand its line of whole-cut plant-based chicken items. Agtech and genomics startup Pattern also announced Series B funding, while carbon-neutral milk company closed a Series A round. Elsewhere, a few different cultivated meat startups reached new milestones.
🇺🇸 Neutral Foods closes $12 million Series A led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The company plans to expand availability of its milks, Carbon Neutral Certified by SCS Global Services, to Whole Foods and other grocery retailers in the US. (Food Dive)
🇺🇸 Restaurant remote staffing platform Bite Ninja bags $11.3 million in bridge funding. The round, which will go towards further platform development, was led by Manta Ray Ventures, Owl Ventures, Agfunder, and others. (FinSMES) [Disclosure: AFN’s parent company is Agfunder.]
🇺🇸 ConverseNow raises $10 million from Danny Meyer’s investment arm. Funding will help scale the ConverseNow platform, which provides voice AI tech for restaurants, enabling them to automate order taking. (Restaurant Dive).
🇮🇳 Plant protein brand Greenest secures undisclosed seed round led by Better Bite Ventures. Greenest will use the funding to continue R&D, make new hires and expand products and distribution. (Green Queen)
🇺🇸 Venus Williams’ Happy Viking superfood brand raises $2 million. A host of athletes participated in the financing including sister Serena Williams, Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s company 35V, and many other high-profile athletes. (Vegconomist)
🇺🇸 Conti Ventures leads $35 million Series B for agtech and genomics startup Pattern. Pattern’s technology offers predictions about next season’s pest, disease, and fertility risks to crops. (Global Newswire)
🇮🇱 Groundwork BioAg closes $18 million Series B raise led by Climate Innovation Capital (ClimateIC). Groundwork BioAg produces mycorrhizal inoculants that can integrate into existing planting operations and fertility programs on the farm. (NewsDirect)
🇰🇷 Agrifood sourcing hub Tridge lands $37.2 million Series D round led by Seoul-based private equity firm DSAsset.
The South Korean B2B platform connects buyers and sellers of fresh agricultural produce and commodities. (AFN)
🇮🇳 India’s Loopworm secures $3.4 million in seed funding from Omnivore and WaterBridge Ventures. Funding will go towards talent acquisition, research, and development acceleration, as well as setting up Loopworm’s first factory (AFN)
🇫🇮 Tracegrow raises undisclosed round from Nordic FoodTech VC. The cleantech startup produces organic certified fertilizers from used alkaline batteries and will expand operations with the new capital. (EU Startups)
🇮🇩 Agtech drone company Aria raises $5 million in seed funding led by East Ventures. Aria will purchase more drones and develop additional IoT tools for farmers with the new capital. (TechNode Global)
🇨🇦 Vive Crop Protection closes a $26 million Series C round led by Canadian agtech venture capital firm Emmertech.
Funding will accelerate commercial deployment of Vive’s product portfolio into new North American markets. (AFN)
M&A, IPOs & partnerships
🇺🇸 Kitchen automation companies Picnic Works and Minnow Technologies strike partnership. The companies will work together on ‘end-to-end’ food automation services for stadiums, large franchises, universities and commercial food service providers. (Fast Casual)
🇺🇸 Ceres Imaging and Soiltech Wireless partner to deliver better irrigation strategies to farmers. Soiltech Wireless will deliver ‘critical enabling technology’ for the Ceres platform, which aims to boost crop health and farmer profitability through irrigation tech. (Yahoo)
Funds, grants & accelerators
🇺🇸 Butterfly Equity closes $1 billion fund to invest in food companies. The firm’s current portfolio includes Chosen Foods, MaryRuth Organics and Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs, amongst others. (Food Business News)
🇬🇧 UK agrifoodtech startups rake in £16.5 million ($19 million) in government funding. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to spend around £600 million ($695 million) in the next three years on grants and support for the agritech sector. (UKTN)
🇺🇸 Solinftec unveils robotics offerings with the Solix Sprayer robot. The ‘bot, which is designed to detect and spray weeds on the farm, will be manufactured by McKinney Corporation and is slated to become commercially available in 2023. (AFN) [Disclosure: AFN’s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Solinftec.]
🚀 Space weather could potentially disrupt farm technology. Solar flares and other activities in the solar system could impact GPS signals to farm equipment — and overall efficiency on the farm. (Delta FarmPress)
🇺🇸 Citizens of Humanity adopting regenerative ag practices. The denim group is partnering directly with cotton farms in the US to start transforming its supply chain to regenerative agriculture. (Business of Fashion)
🇬🇧 🇧🇷 Just Eat Takeaway sells its stake in Brazil’s iFood for ‘up to $1.8 billion.’ The European food delivery giant is selling to multinational conglomerate Prosus and and its Brazilian affiliate Movile. (TechCrunch)
🇯🇵 Umami United unveils Japan’s first vegan eggs. Said eggs are made using konjac powder and enzyme technology that can provide a more sustainable egg compared to conventional ones from chickens. (Green Queen)
🇺🇸 Chili’s parent company Brinker International pauses robotics server test with Bear Robotics. Brinker says it will instead focus on its kitchen tech that reduces cook times on many of the menu items at Chili’s. (Restaurant Dive)
🇮🇱 Future Meat unveils the ‘world’s first’ cultivated lamb. The company also expects to break ground on a large-scale cultivated meat plant in the US in 2023 and start manufacturing in 2024. (Food Navigator)
🇬🇧 Ivy Farm opens the “largest cultivated meat pilot plant” in Europe. The new 18,000 sq. ft. facility hosts a terminal 600L bioreactor that will enable the production of over 2.8 tonnes of cultivated meat per year. (AFN)