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The Week in Agrifoodtech: Downey Jr’s FootPrint backs Motif; Unilever joins $1bn regen ag fund

May 19, 2022

One of India’s leading food and restaurant delivery services made another big-ticket acquisition this week, while alt-protein producers raised several early-stage rounds. Upstream, Unilever joined a new $1.06 billion fund to accelerate adoption of regenerative agriculture practices; and two more countries approved the sale of GMO wheat.

Foodtech funding

🇮🇱 Alt-milk producer Imagindairy raises $15 million extended seed round. Germany’s Target Global led the round, which will go towards R&D efforts, building production infrastructure, and attracting additional talent. (AFN

🇨🇳 Cultivated meat company CellX banks $14.7 million Series A. Existing investors Lever VC, Agronomics, and Better Bite Ventures participated in the round along with new backers Joyvio Capital and SALT. (South China Morning Post

🇮🇪 E-grocer Buymie lands 7 million ($7.4 million) from Grosvenor Food & AgTech, Act Venture Capital, and others. The same-day grocery startup will use the funds to expand across Ireland and the UK. (EU Startups

🇺🇸 Change Foods gets $3.1 million grant towards commercializing precision fermentation dairy products. It builds on an existing collaboration between Change Foods and Australia’s Queensland University of Technology. (Protein Report

🇩🇪 Berlin-based Bosque Foods nabs $3 million for whole-cut mycelium-based pork, chicken. FoodLabs led the seed round with participation from Blue Horizon, Happiness Capital, and SOSV, among others. (Green Queen

🇳🇱 Legume-based cheese startup Willcroft nets $2.1 million to expand around Europe. PINC and Rockstart led the pre-seed round with participation from Döhler and Feast Ventures. (Vegconomist

🇳🇿 NewFish emerges from stealth, closes NZ$1.3 million ($816,000) pre-seed round from Outset Ventures and others. NewFish will use the funds to advance its algae-based local seafood items that incorporate both plant and animal proteins. (AFN)

Agtech funding

🇺🇸 Biotech startup Vestaron, best known for its crop-protecting peptides, bags $82 million Series C funding. Private equity fund Ordway Selections and Cavallo Ventures, the VC arm of agribusiness major Wilbur-Ellis, co-led the round. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Cloud Ag rebrands to Perennial and raises $18 million for its soil carbon measurement, reporting, and verification platform. Temasek and Bloomberg co-led the Series A, which Perennial will use to accelerate its go-to-market strategy. (AFN)

🇬🇧 Climate Edge nets $500,000 seed funding from Regenerate Ventures. Climate Edge provides communication tools to give smallholder farmers in developing countries access to information on soil conditions, cropping calendars, and prices, among other things. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Motif FoodWorks secures undisclosed amount of funding from actor Robert Downey Jr’s FootPrint Coalition. The company also unveiled its first private-label plant-based protein products for foodservice and retail. (Motif FoodWorks)

Other news

🇫🇷 🇬🇧 Axa and Unilever will invest in a new €1 billion ($1.06 billion) regenerative agriculture fund. Tikehau Capital will manage the fund, to which insurer Axa and consumer goods major Unilever will contribute 100 million ($105 million) each. (Reuters)

🇮🇳 Food delivery giant Swiggy acquires Dineout for $200 million. Dineout’s reservations and event service has a network of more than 50,000 restaurant partners across India. (TechCrunch)

🇳🇱 Agtech investment firm Anterra Capital closes its second Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund. The $260 million fund will invest in entrepreneurs developing biotech and digital solutions across the agrifoodtech value chain. (AFN)

🇨🇳 China investigates suspected illegal destruction of wheat fields for construction projects. Provincial authorities are also investigating reports of crops being diverted into animal feed. (Nasdaq)

🇺🇸 Eat Just’s GOOD Meat partners with ADM for cultivated meat development. The joint development agreement will focus on driving down the costs associated with cultivated meat, particularly those around nutrients that feed the cells. (Food Navigator

GOOD Meat dishes as preapred and packaged for delivery in Singapore
GOOD Meat dishes. Image credit: Eat Just

🇺🇸 Solis Agrosciences launches its “plant pipeline as a service” platform for ag biotech startups. Solis can provide them with the required tools and talent for growing and commercializing genetically modified plants. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Duolingo to open taqueria where diners can practice their Spanish. Duo’s Taqueria will be a take-out restaurant located next to the language-learning app’s headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and will serve Mexico City-style street tacos. (Food and Wine

🇺🇸 Chickpea protein maker InnovoPro partners with Milkadamia. The two recently collaborated on and unveiled a plant-based ice cream made with InnovoPro’s CP-Pro 70 protein. (InnovoPro

🇺🇸 Kroger teams up with the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research to measure food waste. The two groups have launched a new grant project, the Food Waste Challenge, to garner new methodologies for better measuring food waste. (Food Dive

🇬🇧 Impossible Foods makes UK debut minus its signature ingredient. The alt-protein maker’s soy leghemoglobin ‘heme’ product is not yet approved in the UK, though it is being assessed for regulatory clearance as a food additive in the neighboring EU. (Food Navigator)

🇦🇺🇳🇿 GMO wheat approved for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand. They join Argentina and Brazil as the only four countries in the world to have declared GMO wheat as safe to eat as conventional non-GMO wheat. (Successful Farming

🇨🇳 China releases its Five-Year Plan for bioeconomy development. The plan calls for the country to “develop synthetic biology technology, develop more synthetic protein, and reduce pressure on environmental resources caused by conventional animal agriculture. (Good Food Institute

🇺🇸 Perdue AgriBusiness and plant trait startup ZeaKal partner on more sustainable poultry. The multi-year development agreement aims to grow ZeaKal’s higher-protein soy on Perdue acreage to produce better meal for chickens. (ZeaKal)

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