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A strawberry grown courtesy of Toyota's experimental greenhouse facility. Image credit: Toyota Times

The Week in AgriFoodTech: Toyota does indoor farming, Bayer & Pairwise ink deal, cultivated seafood gets big in Japan

August 31, 2023

Carmaker Toyota recently took a left turn into growing strawberries and cherry tomatoes at one of its production plants. Also in Japan, one of the country’s largest seafood companies has teamed up with a cultivated seafood startup. Meanwhile, partnerships abound, with companies teaming up to develop everything from gene-edited corn to robotic restaurants and green fertilizer.

Cascade Biocatalysts co-founders Alex Rosay (CEO, left) and James Weltz (CSO) Image credit: Business Wire

Foodtech funding

🇸🇬 Qashier secures $10 million Series A co-led by Delivery Hero Ventures and IFP Securities. The company will expand its POS systems for restaurant and retail. (Fintech Singapore)

🇺🇸 Cascade Biocatalysts brews up $2.6 million pre-seed round led by Ten VC. The startup aims to make industrial enzymes more affordable for greener chemical manufacturing. (Business Wire)

🇧🇪 Dripl raises €2.15 million ($2.3 million) to expand its packaging-free soft drink “refill” machines. This capital consists of a combination of equity investments and convertible loans. (EU Startups)

🇺🇸 Energy beverage manufacturer Yerbaé Brands Corp. scoops up $4 million. The company will use the funds to expand its Yerba Mate-based products. (Food Business News)

CH4 Global production site
CH4 Global production site

Agtech funding

🇺🇸 The U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Forest Service to make $150 million available for forest landowners. Money will help underserved and small-acreage forest landowners connect to voluntary climate markets. (PR Newswire)

🇦🇺 Feedtech startup CH4 Global raises $29 million in first close of Series B round. DCVC, DCVC Bio, and Cleveland Avenue led the round. (AgFunderNews) [Disclosure: AgFunderNews’ parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in CH4 Global.]

Short-stature corn. Image credit: Bayer

M&A, IPOs & partnerships

🇺🇸 Grocery delivery giant Instacart files for IPO. The San Francisco-based company expects to list shares on the Nasdaq under the name CART in September. (AgFunderNews)

🇺🇸 Superlatus to acquire Perfect Day’s The Urgent Company including Coolhaus, Brave Robot & other brands. Superlatus recently merged with pharmaceutical platform TRxADE HEALTH. (Global NewsWire)

🇩🇪 Foodtech/delivery company Circus acquires culinary robotics startup Aitme. Circus will integrate Aitme’s robotics infrastructure into its micro-kitchens. (EU Startups)

🇬🇧 🇺🇸 Bioprocessing company CellRev & Saint-Gobain Life Sciences team up to rejuvenate spent cell culture media. The companies claims this could drastically reduce the cost of cultivated meat. (Food Navigator)

🇹🇭 Food delivery giant Line Man Wongnai acquires majority stake in payments business Rabbit Line PayFinancial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Deal Street Asia)

🇺🇸 Investment firm Francisco Partners acquires The Weather Company assets from IBM. Francisco plans to further build out The Weather Company to make information more actionable for business and consumers. (IBM)

🇺🇸 Iowa State University and Wichita State University produce green fertilizer. The two developed a system that captures waste nitrogen and carbon dioxide for a fertilizer that reduces NO emissions. (AZO Cleantech)

🇺🇸 Exacta Bioscience teams up with synthetic biology co. Ginkgo Bioworks. The two will address scalability challenge for biological crop inputs. (AgFunderNews)

🇺🇸 Pairwise & Bayer ink five-year collaboration for short-stature corn. The new agreement will focus on CRISPR applications for Bayer’s Preceo Smart Corn System. (Bayer)

🇸🇬 🇯🇵 Cultivated seafood company UMAMI Bioworks teams with Japan’s largest seafood company, Maruha Nichiro. The companies aim to build the infrastructure of Japan’s cultivated seafood industry. (Vegconomist)

A strawberry grown courtesy of Toyota’s experimental greenhouse facility. Image credit: Toyota Times

Other news

🇨🇦 🇺🇸 Nature’s Fynd gets Health Canada approval to commercialize its alt meat and dairy. Nature’s Fynd grows its fungi protein using proprietary fermentation. (Vegconomist)

🇯🇵 Toyota growing strawberries, cherry tomatoes from one of its production plants. The carmaker is trialing an experimental greenhouse with the assistance of farmers in Japan. (Toyota Times)

🇺🇸 Biotech company Pureture develops vegan casein using yeast-based traditional fermentation. Pureture says its plant-based milk protein can be supplied at a lower price than its conventional counterpart. (Green Queen)

🇨🇦 🇺🇸 Sustainability nonprofit Leading Harvest to pilot its Farmland Management Standard in Canada. The outcomes-based sustainability standard has already launched in the US and Australia. (PR Newswire)

🇺🇸 Walmart eGrocery sales hit record high. The mega-retailer accounted for nearly 36% of all online grocery sales in the US in the second quarter. (Grocery Dive)

🇺🇸 AeroFarms puts equipment up for auction. Key assets from the vertical farming company’s New Jersey facility are on sale now as AeroFarms transitions its entire operation to Danville, Virginia. (Vertical Farm Daily)

🇺🇸 Pivot Bio blazes past $100m revenue mark, reports its nitrogen-fixing product on 5 million US acres of corn. The company has also appointed a new CEO. (AgFunderNews)

🇮🇳 Softbank Vision Fund offloads 100 million shares in food delivery giant Zomato. The former may offload its remaining 2.18% and exit Zomato completely “in the coming months.” (YourStory)

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