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Bosai Robotics cofounders Ugur Oezdemir CTO and Tyler Niday CEO
L-R: Bosai Robotics cofounders Ugur Oezdemir (CTO) and Tyler Niday (CEO). Image credit: Bonsai Robotics

The Week in AgriFoodTech: Umiami raises $34.7m for plant-based whole cuts, Bonsai Robotics bags $13.5m, Blue Apron to sell for$103m

October 5, 2023

This week, French plant-based meat startup Umiami snagged €32.5m ($34.7m) to take its whole cuts platform to the US; Australian precision fermentation startup Eden Brew raised A$24.4m ($15.3m) to scale up animal-free casein production; and Bonsai Robotics landed $13.5m to expand its computer vision tech enabling vehicles to autonomously traverse nut orchards.

Bosai Robotics cofounders Ugur Oezdemir CTO and Tyler Niday CEO
L-R: Bonsai Robotics cofounders Ugur Oezdemir (CTO) and Tyler Niday (CEO). Image credit: Bonsai Robotics

Agtech funding

🇺🇸 Bonsai Robotics announces $13.5 million seed round led by Acre Venture Partners. The capital will help the startup expand its autonomous harvesting tech, which initially focuses on nut orchards. (TechCrunch)

🇺🇸 Rantizo raises $6 million series A expansion. The capital will help it scale a nationwide network for spray drone services in agriculture. (AgFunderNews)

🇺🇸 Helios bags $1.85 million pre-seed round. The capital will help fund the launch of Cersi, an AI analyst for the agricultural supply chain. (AgFunderNews)

The Pow.bio team
Left to right: Pow.bio CEO Shannon Hall, COO Brian Lee, and CTO Ouwei Wang. Image credit: Pow.bio

Foodtech funding

🇫🇷 Plant-based meat startup Umiami nets €32.5 million ($34.7 million) series A round led by SPI fund and French Tech Seed. The firm has also appointed John Hatto as managing director for North America. (Tech EU)

🇦🇺 Australian precision fermentation startup Eden Brew closes A$24.4 million ($15.3 million) series A round led by Main Sequence Ventures.  Eden Brew, which is co-owned by dairy co-op Norco, makes casein proteins via microbial fermentation. (Green Queen)

🇺🇸 Pow.Bio bags $9.5 million series A led by Re:Food and Thia Ventures to expand its continuous fermentation technology. “By running a fermentation process more like an assembly line, we see multi-fold increases in productivity without contamination or drift,” claims the startup. (AgFunderNews)

🇨🇦 Biomaterials startup Erthos secures $6.5 million series A led by Horizons Ventures. The capital will be used to further develop the startup’s plant-based resins to replace plastics. (Forbes)

🇮🇱 Israeli precision fermentation startup Phytolon raises undisclosed sum from investors including Nextgen Nutrition Investment Partners The firm is gearing up to commercialize betalain pigments produced via fermentation of genetically engineered baker’s yeast. (PRNewswire)

🇬🇧 London-based biotech firm FlexSea nets a £2 million ($2.4 million) seed round led by Indico Capital Partners. The firm is developing seaweed-derived bioplastics which break down in sea, soil or home composting. (Tech.eu)

🇩🇰 Danish startup Responsibly raises $2.4 million in seed round led by Hambro Perks and Pi Labs. Its AI-powered platform helps companies assess supplier sustainability and reduce data compliance costs. (Tech.eu)

FarmSense insect monitoring
Image credit: FarmSense

Funds, grants and accelerators

🇺🇸  Climate tech VC firm At One Ventures closes $375 million second fund. Fund II will back early-stage startups with “disruptive technologies that can improve planetary health.”(Axios)

🇺🇸 Trailhead Capital closes inaugural $50 million fund. The capital will be invested in early-stage companies offering “tech-enabled solutions to expand regenerative agriculture practices and products.” (The Rockefeller Foundation)

🇺🇸  American AgCredit funds $10 million rural roots endowment. The endowment provides grants and direct funds to New Mexico agricultural organizations that support the next generation of farmers and ranchers. (PRNewswire)

🇺🇸  Novel Farms secures $999,967 SBIR Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation to advance cultivated meat production. The project focuses on lowering media costs by eliminating costly components through refining Novel Farms’ scaffolding technology. (Businesswire)

🇺🇸 Agtech startups FarmSense (insect monitoring) and PheroSyn (pheromone-based integrated pest management) win the 2023 Radicle Inclusion Challenge presented by Nutrien. Each bags a $750,000 investment. (Benzinga)

ORF Genetics signs MOU with South Korean startup SeaWith
ORF Genetics signs MOU with South Korean startup SeaWith. Image credit: ORF Genetics

M&A, IPOs and partnerships

🇺🇸 AGCO and Trimble form a joint venture giving AGCO exclusive rights to distribute the Trimble portfolio of ag products.  The joint venture is part of a $2 billion deal whereby AGCO acquires an 85% interest in Trimble’s ag assets and technologies. (AgWeb)

🇺🇸 Meal kit co Blue Apron is to be acquired by food delivery co Wonder Group for $103 million. While stockholders will receive $13/share, a big premium to the closing price of $5.49 on the day the deal was announced, the price is a far cry from the $1.89 billion valuation for the firm when it went public in 2017. (Grocery Dive)

🇨🇦 🇸🇪 Fresh food management tech co. Invafresh acquires Whywaste. Whywaste’s tech includes advanced date checking, markdown price optimization, and donation platform capabilities to tackle food waste in grocery retail. (Progressive Grocer)

🇺🇸 Andes, which uses microbes to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere and convert it into minerals in the soil, partners with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in a new research center. Part of the Department of Energy’s Energy Earthshot program, the center will “advance the fundamental understanding of CO2 drawdown in soil.” (Carbon Herald)

🇮🇸 🇰🇷 Icelandic molecular farming startup ORF Genetics partners with South Korean co SeaWith. SeaWith will use growth factors produced by ORF in barley plants to grow cultivated meat under the Welldone brand, which it hopes to commercialize in 2025. (Vegconomist)

meati cutlets
Image credit: Meati Foods

Other news

🇳🇱 Growy to construct a new vertical farm in Amsterdam. The firm has struck a deal with developer CTP for 4,750 sqm of warehouse and office space in the Western Docklands district of Amsterdam. (Vertical Farm Daily)

🇺🇸 Fungi-fueled startup Meati secures US patent ensuring exclusivity over alt meat products made from its Neurospora crassa strain until 2039. (New Hope Network)

🇺🇸 🇨🇴 Precision fermentation startup The EVERY Co collaborates with Colombian CPG giant Nutresa. The pair will test EVERY’s animal-free egg whites in alt meat products. (Vegconomist)

🇮🇱 Israeli plant cell culture startup Novella opens a new HQ and pilot plant to accelerate the cultivation of berry fruit cells from five varieties. The bioactives will target the dietary supplements sector, where botanical supply chains are coming under increasing pressure. (PRNewswire)

🇩🇪 🇺🇸 Nosh Bio teams up with synthetic biology co Ginkgo Bioworks to screen for protein-producing fungi strains with superior sensory profiles. The aim is to produce a mycoprotein that delivers improved meat alternatives.(Green Queen)

🇧🇪 SAI Platform announces global framework for regenerative agriculture. The framework was agreed by food and ag giants including Nestlé, Danone, Unilever and PepsiCo, who have aligned on definitions, impact areas, outcomes, and metrics. (SAIGlobal)

🇺🇸 The Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture launches a new undergraduate minor billed as the “first cellular agriculture undergraduate degree in the world.” (Tufts)

🇫🇷 Cargill opens a European Protein Innovation Hub in Saint-Cyr en Val, France. The hub features a customer experience area, test kitchen and a pilot plant to test new products. (FoodNavigator)

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