的 Quail-ity Innovation Quest

Exclusive: 15 VCs weigh in on fundraising in a downtown

This week just 5 AgriFood startups announced their funding rounds, highlighting the current challenges in raising capital.

So we caught up with these 15 FoodTech investors to hear their advice on how to navigate the current downturn and successfully fundraise in 2024.

5 top takeaways include

  • Build something people love

  • Give it twice as much time as you'd expected

  • Get used to hearing "no" and not getting discouraged

  • Reverse engineer, think about your next round already

  • Prioritise raising capital and the right investor > optimising for valuation

This week in FoodTech:

Open Fung: Unlocking fungi potential
Gene-ius: Sugar canes genetic code
Near-vacuum: Doubling crop shelf life

The Digest

Credit: DigitalFoodLab

Whats up? The US largest egg producers, Cal-Maine, sold a record number of eggs last quarter as consumers switched to more affordable proteins.

Whats down? Data from Nielsen shows that UK food inflation fell to its lowest rate in two years in March.

妞 Researchers at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute have mapped out sugar canes genetic code, which could lead to more resilient crops and increased sugar production.

A new initiative, Open Fung, officially launched with a mission to build collective resources to facilitate innovative ways of working with fungi to create sustainable solutions in various fields, including food, materials, and medicine.

Good Watch: Why food miles are a useless way to measure foods impact.

The EU Commission is facing legal action from End the Cage Age, a seven-member European Citizens Initiative group, after it failed to uphold a promised ban on caged farming of animals like hens, pigs and rabbits in the region.

Good Read: European food tech funding was down 35% year-on-year in 2023, but DigitalFoodLab explains why there are still many reasons to hope.

New in Funding

Credit: Onego Bio

攻 Brazils Aqua Capital closed its third flagship fund with $450 million, surpassing its $400 million target, to support sustainable agrifood solutions which contribute to carbon reduction, positive change in greenhouse gas emissions, and small and mid-sized farmers inclusion.

Onego Bio, based in Finland, secured $40 million Series A funding to commercialise its precision fermentation animal-free egg protein, Bioalbumen, for which it soon expects to obtain self-affirmed GRAS status in the US.

拎 Copenhagen-based REDUCEDsecured 6 million to convert food and agriculture side streams into useful ingredients using fermentation technology. It will use the funds to further expand its operations. Heres why they were backed.

賅 Swedens Ironic Biotechsecured 1 million pre-seed funding for its precision fermentation proteins which allow iron to be easily absorbed into the blood, designed to be used as an ingredient in food or food supplements.

氣 Israeli molecular farming startup Finally Foods emerged from stealth with a pre-seed investment from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, with which it will develop protein from potatoes, starting with casein. Check out the backstory.

See all 7 new Funds and Funding rounds including HR for agribusinesses and an 瞿8.25M fund to support early-stage deep science startups.

New in Startups

Credit: Vow

的 Australian cultivated meat startup Vow has earned regulatory approval in Singapore for its cultivated quail, which it will soon serve as part of a parfait under its Forged brand at the Mandala Club, followed by other restaurants in the city-state. Heres how to get an invite to a tasting.

RipeLocker, based in the US, claims it can double the shelf life of some high-value crops, including blueberries, cherries, and walnuts. Its patented, re-usable, portable low-atmosphere chambers create a near-vacuum or ultra-low oxygen environment for transport, meaning producers can switch from air to ocean freight, saving costs as well as cutting waste.

Hong Kong-based cultivated seafood producer Avant Meats is planning to expand its manufacturing capacity from 250L to 2000L bioreactors at its pilot plant in Singapore by 2025, following several successful pilot production runs.

FoodTech World Cup

A global tournament to spotlight impact entrepreneurs in AgriFoodTech.

Enter your startup into the FoodTech World Cup

Pitch to a regional Jury ahead of the Final at the HackSummit.

Applications are open for startups in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, APAC, Europe, Latin America and MENA.

Or hear them pitch in the live final at the HackSummit. Ticket prices go up April 9th. Grab your pass - use code HACKINSIDER for an extra 20% off.

Plant Based

Credit: La Vie x Pizza Hut

French vegan meat startup La Vie inked a deal with Pizza Hut France to roll out its plant-based ham as an option on all of the chains menu items for 2024.

South Koreas Innohas has opened what it says is the worlds largest plant-based food facility in the country.

Fifty five members of US Congress have sent an open letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to expand the availability of plant-based food options within federal facilities across the nation.

0儭 New Zealand plant-based plant-based chicken company Sunfed Meats had its valuation slashed to zero by major investor Blackbird Ventures, having raised $9.4 million in 2018 but become victim to overestimated demand.

Rabobank, Foodvalley NL and the Netherlands Interprovincial Protein Council have joined forces to launch the new Plant Protein Forward Initiative, with the aim of increasing the consumption of Dutch-grown plant-based proteins, starting with edamame beans.

Big Food

Credit: Givaudan, MISTA and B羹hler

Givaudan, MISTA and B羹hler announced the opening of a state-of-the-art extrusion hub at the MISTA Innovation Center in San Francisco, which will offer companies the opportunity to conduct product development trials for their extruded products.

Amazon is pulling its Just Walk Out cashierless technology large-format grocery store, Amazon Fresh, instead opting for its Dash smart shopping carts, which use computer vision to scan products as consumers put them in the cart.

∴ Cargill has signed five deals to increase its global renewable energy capacity by 42%, bringing an additional 300 megawatts of wind and solar capacity online, as part of its broader GHG emission reduction goals.

Trends: AI for Energy Forecasting

As we transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (a massive improvement for the health of our planet), this intermittency creates challenges for energy system operators charged with matching supply to demand. The job is becoming harder than ever before. Thats why startups are taking advantage of the rapidly progressing capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to boost efficiency and accelerate innovation.

Discover in the fullHackTrends Report:
- 2x case studies (Amperon, Innowatts)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 19 companies powering the energy transition
- Expert opinions from Christopher Raithle at PUSH VC, David Fleming at Innowatts, Simone de Bruin, Hayden Young at SET Ventures and Nick Feneck

From the Community

Recent jobs in FoodTech:

Good Read: Forward Fooding shared how AgTech is reshaping sustainable farming practices.

Join Coller Competition for a virtual event on April 17th on the state of the protein industry, IIA support, the global investment perspective, and more. See the speaker line up and sign up here.

Foodpreneur Collective Pitch Lounge takes place on April 11th at 6-8PM BST live on Zoom. Register to watch online.

Come say hello at your local community at a free FoodHack Meetup next in Valais, Milan, Vienna, Lisbon and Boston.

奎 Youre one click away from joining the new FoodTech Weekly Discord Chat.

Just for fun: FoodTech Founders carving out allocations in hot rounds

Until next time - Stay Hungry

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