Wendy's
Image credit: Batu Gezer / Unsplash

Agrifoodtech Digest: Wendy’s plans 700 parking lot ghost kitchens; Knowde nets $72m

August 18, 2021

AFN‘s weekly Agrifoodtech Digest is our selection of the top funding, partnership, and product launch headlines reported by us and other sources these past seven days.

🇺🇸 Burger chain Wendy’s plans 700 ghost kitchens by 2025 in partnership with a parking lot startup. Reef, formerly known as ParkJockey, provides tech for managing parking lots, and claims to have become North America’s largest parking lot operator. More recently, it has been placing ghost kitchens in its lots. Wendy’s has already piloted eight Reef kitchens in Canada, and estimates that it can earn up to $1 million in annual sales from the effort. Reef was one of the best-funded agrifoodtech startups in 2020, according to AgFunder research. (Business Insider)

🇺🇸 Apeel raises $250 million at Series E to expand its supply networks and fund tech acquisitions. The US food waste reduction company makes a plant-based ‘peel’ that can be applied to the surface of fresh produce to maintain freshness [ longer. Singapore’s Temasek led the round. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Online ingredients, polymers, and chemicals marketplace Knowde raises $72 million. Coatue led the Series B round, with participation from Sequoia Capital, Bee Partners, and Sound Ventures, among others. US-based Knowde recently expanded from personal care products to the food and nutrition industry. (Food Business News)

🇺🇸 Cirkul banks $30 million Series B funding for drink customization devices. The Tampa, Florida startup has developed a water bottle with insertable, adjustable flavor cartridges. AF Ventures led the round with participation from investors including SC.Holdings and Siddhi Capital. (The Spoon)

🇺🇸 Cargill, Microsoft join $17 million raise for carbon verification platform Regrow. The Durham, New Hampshire-based startup will use the funding to roll out its monitoring, reporting, and verification tool for carbon sequestration and monetization. (AFN)

🇸🇦 Saltwater ag startup Red Sea Farms closes $16m Series A funding from AppHarvest, Aramco, and others. The Saudi Arabian company, which develops saltwater-fed indoor farming facilities, said it will use the capital to accelerate its expansion in the Middle East and explore opportunities in the US market. (AFN)

🇺🇸 Home chef marketplace WoodSpoon closes $14 million Series A round led by Restaurant Brands International. World Trade Ventures and Victor Lazarte also participated in the round. WoodSpoon vets home chefs for safety and quality, and assists them with logistics, food photography, and videos to sell their food online. (The Spoon)

🇺🇸🇩🇪 Kalera agrees $153 million deal to acquire &ever in vertical farming combo. The US-headquartered company will take over its Germany-based counterpart, instantly expanding its international footprint across Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. (AFN)

🇺🇸 GrubMarket makes fourth food supply chain acquisition. The e-grocer has acquired New YorkCity-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler L&J Produce. It’s the latest in a series of M&A deals for GrubMarket, which seeks to shorten the supply chain between consumers and farmers. (GrubMarket)

🇦🇺🇳🇴🇸🇬 Barramundi Group debuts on Norwegian stock exchange. The Singapore-headquartered aquaculture firm raised $14.7 million from its IPO on Euronext Oslo, which is seen as a preferred listing venue for seafood-related businesses. It hopes to expand its annual capacity to 30,000 tonnes of Lates calcarifer – otherwise known as Asian sea bass. (IntraFish)

🇺🇸🇳🇿 Drone Deploy acquires robotics software startup Rocos to integrate aerial and ground robots. It hopes to enable drones with technology that can signal robots on the ground to investigate specific targets. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (The Robot Report)

🇦🇺 Fable Food Co raises $4.8 million seed funding for its Heston-endorsed mushroom meat. The Aussie outfit is making mushroom-based meat analogs with a ‘whole foods’ philosophy, with Michelin-starred UK chef Heston Blumenthal launching a limited-edition hamburger using Fable’s patty. (AFN)

🇮🇳🇨🇭 Farmer financing firm Samunnati raises $4.6 million from ‘green bond’ to encourage adoption of sustainable ag practices. Samunnati, which serves farmer-producer organizations and other ag stakeholders across India, raised the capital via a bond issue handled by Symbiotics, a Swiss impact investment platform. (Symbiotics)

🇺🇸 Dewey Scientific scores $3.2 million to enhance genetic diversity of cannabis crops. The startup is using genomics and data analytics to improve cannabis quality. The Series A round was led by The Hawthorne Collective, an investment arm of gardening products company Scotts Miracle-Gro. (GeekWire)

🇸🇬 Plant-based ‘chicken’ maker Shandi scores $700,000 seed funding. Agrifood conglomerate Tolaram led the round, with accelerator SparkLabs Cultiv8 and Simmarpal Singh, the former CEO of India operations at Louis Dreyfus Company, also participating. (Tolaram Group)

🇸🇬 D2C plant-based dairy brand Mohjo raises seed funding. East Ventures, K3 Ventures, iSeed Southeast Asia, and several angel investors participated in the round. Singapore-based Mohjo will use the funding to market its almond-based beverages. (Tech in Asia)

🇺🇸 Bite Ninja raises $675,000 to help restaurants harness the work-from-home trend. The Memphis, Tennessee-based platform integrates with restaurants’ existing ordering systems, allowing remote casual workers to log in and take customer orders. (AFN)

🇳🇱🇺🇸 DSM partners Colorado’s Mile High Labs on hemp-derived cannabinoid solutions. Their goal is to combine CBD and other hemp derivatives with micronutrients to create a range of premix health supplements. (Food Business News)

🇸🇬🇺🇸 Cell-based milk company TurtleTree partners Solar Biotech to build bioprocessing capacity. Founded in 2019 by Alex Berlin — who formerly worked with Novozymes — Solar Biotech aims to help precision fermentation companies like Singapore’s TurtleTree to scale up their operations in a sustainable way while keeping costs low. (TurtleTree)

[Disclosure: AFN‘s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Bite Ninja, Fable Food Co, and Apeel via the latter’s acquisition of ImpactVision.]

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