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Brief: VC firm Bidra scoops up $200m to back sustainable ag and energy startups

April 5, 2023

  • Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the OCP Group will invest an additional $200 million into Bidra Innovation Ventures to expand the investment scope of Bidra’s fund.
  • Bidra invests in climate-focused agrifoodtech startups; the new investment will expand its scope to include energy, water and mining in addition to agriculture.
  • The $200 million is on top of the $50 million UM6P and OCP invested in March 2022.

Why it matters:

Bidra (Arabic for “seed”) is a standalone fund backed by two parties with a vested interest in sustainability and climate tools.

Morocco-based UM6P bills itself as “a hub of research & innovation to serve Africa” that aims to be more than a traditional academic institution by prioritizing experimentation and entrepreneurship.

Moroccan state-owned OCP Group, which is a major provider of plant health solutions and the world’s largest producer of phosphate-based fertilizers, announced its $13 billion “Green Investment Strategy” at the end of 2022. Through it, the company plans to invest in green fertilizers and renewable energy, with the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040.

Supporting Bidra gives these parties access to the kind of innovation needed to propel climate goals forward.

Bidra has so far invested in Niqo Robotics, a startup that uses robots to reduce chemical usage; Africa-focused biopesticides company Agrospheres, soil biology Pattern Ag, ag marketplace Apollo Agriculture, and carbon sequestration startup Travertine.

For Bidra itself, the new funding and support brings several advantages, particularly as the fund’s scope expands to areas outside of agrifoodtech.

“UM6P recognizes the role innovation must play to sustainably solve global challenges,” Amar Singh, head of group at Bidra said in a statement. “We are grateful for UM6P’s visionary leadership and support as we continue to back innovators forging the future via sustainable technologies for Africa and beyond. Having OCP’s support is a tremendous advantage because now we can extend OCP’s regional know-how and distribution capacity to startups that are ready to scale.”

Bidra says its companies benefit from the financial resources of UM6P and the OCP Group as well as the organizations’ domain expertise and geographic reach.

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