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PLUS: €50M for 50 agrifood startups, vegan piranha, scaffolding for whole cuts
FoodTech is facing a funding fallout, but gritty founders remain undeterred.
After all, stars shine brightest in the dark.
And this week’s funding roundup is no exception, as 12 rising stars announce new rounds. Including AgroSpheres’ $25M for crop biologicals, Koa’s $15M for upcycled cacao and Farmless’ €4.8M for planet-friendly proteins.
Planning to announce your fundraise? Here’s a cheatsheet on how to nail it.
This week in Food:
Circular Gigafarm for food security
Vertically farmed cherry tomatoes
FDA-USDA-EPA team up on waste
📉 What’s down? A new study from Profundo shows that a 50% switch to plant-based proteins by six leading retailers and caterers could cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by 31.6 million tonnes, the equivalent of removing 25 million cars from the roads.
💸 The Danish Foundation for Plant-Based Foods announced the first 36 projects selected by the Plant Fund, a DKK 675 million ($100 million) government initiative to promote climate-friendly plant-based food until 2030. The selected projects will receive DKK 58.2 million in funding to support the country’s first phase of its plant-based food agenda.
✂️ Three US agencies - the FDA, the USDA and the EPA - are collaborating on a strategy to reach the national goal of reducing food loss and waste in the country by 50% by 2030.
💰 The UK Government unveiled its National Vision for Engineering Biology, a £2 billion plan to harness the potential of biotechnology to revolutionise food production, medical advancements, and sustainable fuel production, including changes in food regulations to accelerate product development and the route to market in the UK’s alternative protein sector.
👀 Good Read: Charm Industrial share their tips for building a successful hardware company.
💡 Is starting a startup in 2024 the best decision? Consider this first.
Funds x Funding
💰 Amsterdam’s Rockstart launched its second AgriFood fund. It is targeting €50 million to support up to 50 early-stage, purpose-driven startups in the next five years.
🌾 US biotech AgroSpheres secured $25 million Series B funding to “build unprecedented stability in crop biologicals”. Its novel delivery system encapsulates and delivers pesticides to plants in a more targeted approach than traditional methods, helping to reduce pesticide use and avoid biodiversity damage.
🍫 Swiss-Ghanian startup Koa raised $15 million in a Series B funding round led by the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund. It will use the investment to scale its upcycled cacao business - it makes a cacao fruit juice called Koa Pure, alongside a Koa Concentrate 72° (a reduced syrupy version of the juice) and dried cacao fruit powder for other food manufacturers.
🧫 Cultivated meat startup Clever Carnivore raised $7 million in a seed funding round led by Lever VC. It will use the funds to support its expansion plans, as it works towards commercialisation of its cultivated Bratwurst in early 2024. Here’s why they were backed.
💨 Dutch fermentation startup Farmless closed its oversubscribed seed round with €4.8 million. It will use the funds to build a pilot plant and accelerate R&D for its climate-friendly functional proteins with a complete amino acid profile, created via a biomass fermentation technique that relies on liquid gases as feedstock. More on their journey so far.
🏭 Singaporean cultivated meat company Meatiply secured $3.75 million at the first closing of its seed funding round. It will use the funds to scale production of its hybrid products and open a new R&D facility next year.
🔝 Get the full recap on 12 funds and funding rounds this week including molecular coffee, etsy for food and a digital pizza delivery restaurant.
New in Startups
🇦🇪 UAE consortium ReFarm signed an agreement with the FoodTech Valley to build a circular, closed-loop “GigaFarm”, with infrastructure supplied by vertical farming technology company Intelligent Growth Solutions, to boost Dubai’s food security and decarbonise its food industry.
🇮🇹 Italian startup Foreverland debuted pralines and panettone made with Freecao, a cocoa-free chocolate made from Italian carob, which is free of caffeine, gluten, and all major allergens.
🍅 US-based vertical farming company Oishii launched its latest product, an ultra-premium tomato dubbed the Rubī Tomato, into select Whole Foods stores in the country.
🤖 Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s holding company, City Storage Systems, is building its own restaurant automation and robotics business under the name Lab37, and has built its first restaurant robot, a bowl-making robot called Bowl Builder.
🌾 Gene-edited food startup Ohalo Genetics came out of stealth. It uses gene editing technology to “create new plant varieties in major crops that were not previously feasible, significantly increasing yields and productivity”. You’ll likely recognise their CEO.
Credit: EFISHient Protein
🌭 Impossible Foods is launching its first plant-based hot dog, the Impossible™ Beef Hot Dog, that will be available in both grocery stores and restaurants next year. And is planning a rebrand to counter the off-putting “wokeness” associated with plant-based products and “stop pissing Americans off”.
🍗 France’s first cultivated meat startup, Vital Meat, announced a strategic partnership with leading cell culture media producer Biowest to scale the production of its cultivated chicken.
🥩 German startup MyriaMeat emerged from stealth and claims it can cultivate 100% “real meat” from stem cells, using patented “groundbreaking” medical technology.
🪜 Big Idea Ventures launched a new biomaterials startup, Nexture Bio, Inc., which is developing novel scaffoldings for whole-cut cultivated products and other technologies to support the cellular agriculture industry.
🇧🇷 Nestlé announced plans to invest BRL 6 billion (approx. $1.2 billion) in food and drink production in Brazil, including advancing the sustainability agenda in its chocolate, coffee, pet care and nutrition segments in the country.
🥚 Kraft Heinz Co., the former Kellogg Co., General Mills, Inc. and Nestle USA Inc. have been awarded $17.8 million by an Illinois federal jury in an egg price fixing lawsuit against Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., Rose Acre Farms, the United Egg Producers, Inc. and the United States Egg Marketers, Inc.
🌱 UK supermarket Tesco is launching a new plant-based brand called Root & Soul, as part of its ‘plant-forward’ initiative.
🥛 Some of the world’s largest dairy companies, including Nestlé, Danone, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Bel Group and Lactalis, have committed to disclosing their annual methane emissions from their dairy supply chains and “creating and implementing a comprehensive methane action plan”.
From the Community
🎯 The last Meetups of 2023 are taking place in Lausanne, Zurich, Thessaloniki and Valais. See you there? Sign up for free here.
🔍 Why you need to be fundable and findable to attract funding. And how to do it.
🧀 Last week we shared news of Kraft Heinz x NotCo’s Mac and Cheese, next up the makers’ kids give it a taste test.
📚 10 books on explosive growth, and why you should read them.
🐈 Just for fun: Launching your FoodTech CPG startup in retail
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Until next time - Stay Hungry