Categories
AgTech Biotech

Innatrix has been awarded a NSF grant of $225k to address critical crop losses

AgTech startup Innatrix has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research grant of $224,594 to conduct research and development on creating high-affinity protein ligands to address critical crop losses caused by damaging pathogens and pests.

Innatrix is developing technology for the production of high-affinity, high specificity protein ligands to protein targets of interest. It’s area of applied focus are the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors.

“This award allows us to advance our mission to create environmentally-friendly, sustainable products that will allow farmers to overcome losses caused by pathogens and pests.”

Dr. Jiarui Li, Research Director at Innatrix.

Innatrix has also invented a proprietary apparatus named the EvoStat™. It is an automated platform for protein engineering and provides advanced control, reporting, recording, simulation, and remote access. Infra-red and image processing-based monitoring provides control of temperature, mixing, turbidity, medium supply, culture volumes and flow rates.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering.”

Andrea Belz, Director, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” NSF is vital to US because it support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.

The startup is open to collaborations in the agricultural sector in which the production of high affinity protein ligands to targets of interest would be beneficial.

Read more at Innatrix News.

Categories
FoodTech Webinar

Expert Talk: How Foodtech is Disrupting Through Sustainable Meat Alternatives

By 2040, more than 60% of the global meat consumption will be lead by alternative meats. That’s a market value of 1,000 billion USD. Are you ready to lead the change within the industry? Come join a special panel on Wed, 08.07.2020, 6PM CEST sponsored by Stryber, an independent corporate venture builder based in Munich, London, Zurich, and Kiev. The webinar will primarily focus on

  1. Industry outlook from successful founders, investors and industry experts
  2. About building a million-USD funded startups and the first lab-grown hamburger
  3. Future market and investment trends

Who is the webinar for?

  1. For corporations & innovators: Do you work in a corporate group or are you involved in innovation in the F&B sector? Gain insights into the meat replacement industry and hear how to innovate successfully.
  2. For founders & entrepreneurs: You already started a meat alternative startup or have an idea? Learn from our experts on how they have mastered the problems you are also struggling with.
  3. For the curious & inquisitive: Are you curious about meat alternatives and the most disruptive innovations? Get insights from real industry insiders: how they think, act and became successful.

You can register for the webinar by submitting your information on the link below.

The panel and discussion will address questions including:

  1. What are the most disrupting trends in the meat industry?
  2. How will the future of meat look like?
  3. Are consumers ready for lab-made meat?

The Speakers:

Ross Mackay, CEO & Co-Founder, Daring Foods: Ross is a Scottish serial entrepreneur now living in the US. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of daring, a plant-based chicken startup that just closed a second round of investment after their first round of $10m USD. Ross is reimagining chicken with the mission to offer a healthier, tastier and more environmentally cautious alternative to meat that is creating a new vegan food experience which is inclusive for all.

Frea Mehta, Biophysics PhD, LMU: Frea is an experimental biophysics researcher at the LMU Munich. She has firsthand experience in the field of cultured meat research as a Fulbright scholar in the lab of Dr. Mark Post at Maastricht University, where the world’s first lab-grown hamburger was born. She is an active science communicator on the topic of cultured meat and biotechnology solutions in food and agriculture.

Garan Goodman, Associate Partner, Stryber: Garan is a Partner at Stryber aiming to strategically accelerate corporate’s innovation efforts. He previously was the Managing Director of the METRO Target Retail Program for 8 late stage retail startups and Managing Director of the Telefonica startup program Wayra Deutschland GmbH where he oversaw the investment and acceleration activity of 35 companies including the last mile delivery giant Foodora.

David Blake Walker, CEO & Founder, BOONIAN: David is an Interior Architekt, Entrepreneur and all around Creative from the U.S currently residing in Munich. He graduated from Kansas State University with a BFA in Interior Architecture. The day after graduation he packed his drum set in his pick-up and hit the road for New York City where he worked for Richard Meier which subsequently brought him to Munich. Since then he has developed a reputation for his creativity and gastronomy projects.

Categories
AgTech FoodTech Protein

AgTech start-up Nasekomo has raised EUR 4 million for its insect rearing technology

Bulgarian agtech start-up Nasekomo, producing an alternative protein from insect for animal feed, has raised EUR 4 million to deploy its proprietary robotized insect rearing technology. By feeding insects with local agricultural by-products, it contributes to creating an environmentally positive local loop. The VC funds Morningside Hill and New Vision 3 backed by the Fund of Funds in Bulgaria participated in the round.

Nasekomo is the first insect rearing company in South-East Europe, with their first industrial-scale production facility in Bulgaria. It benefits from the advantageous labor and business conditions, abundance of input materials all year round, as well as the proximity to some of the target markets – Greece, Turkey, Western Europe.

“We have spent the last 3 years developing unique solutions for the insect rearing market. Nasekomo has leveraged robotics, A.I. and big data which allow us to produce insect protein efficiently. We will not only be competitively producing large volumes, but also addressing the challenges of our world related to animal feed.”

Marc Bolard, Executive Managing Director, Nasekomo

Nasekomo is positioning itself as a premium player in the insect industry with premium sustainable insect products for the feed and agriculture industries:

  1. Food for Fish: Highly digestible and functional insect protein suitable for both marine and in-land species.
  2. Food for Pets: Insect protein for hypoallergenic cats and dogs. Insect feed for birds, reptiles and ornamental fish.
  3. Food for the Land: Nutritious and sustainable organic fertilizer, rich in essential minerals. Green replacement of chemical fertilizers.

Nasekomo’s in-house developed fully automated technology allows for scalable and cost-efficient production of insect products. The R&D department works independently or in collaboration with leading academic institutions and business partners to develop processes and technologies that will propell forward the insect industry as well as Nasekomo.

“Insects are part of the natural diet for many animal species. They now represent an opportunity to become a sustainable solution to supply the proteins that the world is increasingly consuming. Instead of increasing wild fish catch in oceans and deforesting to plant soy, we can feed insects with local agricultural by-products with extremely limited water consumption, and produce high-quality sustainable proteins for fish, poultry, pigs and pets.”

Olga Marcenac, Chief Operating Officer at Nasekomo

Despite being incorporated only 3 years ago, Nasekomo is already scaling up its operating insect rearing facilities. The scale-up will enable Nasekomo to implement circular economy on a large scale. The company upscales organic waste streams from the agro-industry into animal feed by harnessing the power of the black soldier fly larvae.

“We are thrilled to support an experienced team of entrepreneurs with several highly successful enterprises under their belt. In their newest venture, Xavier, Olga and Marc will change the paradigm of protein production by transforming residual biomass into feed. In addition to its sustainable development impact, the business provides a great investment opportunity.”

Pavel Velkov, Managing Partner at Morningside Hill Ventures

The investment will allow Nasekomo to grow its presence on the market and increase its productivity via deploying robotics and data analytics. The company will also launch a new selective breeding program in order to provide the planet with continuously improving efficiency in transforming waste into insect-based products.

Read more at Nasekomo

Categories
AgTech Biotech

TerMir selected as the winner of AgTech Innovation Competition

TerMir Inc., a North Carolina–based agtech company, focusing on solutions for citrus greening and natural weed control, has been selected as recipient of funding and membership of AgTech Innovation Competition hosted by Alexandria LaunchLabs. Alexandria’s national competition, was successful in attracting approximately 70 emerging agtech applicant companies in areas like crop protection, digital platforms, robotics, next-generation fabrics and animal vaccines from 20 states across the United States.

In May, TerMir and six other finalists—Agrynex (New York), Ascribe Bioscience (New York), EarthSense (Illinois), GALY (California), Mazen Animal Health (Missouri) and TreeCo (North Carolina)—presented their pitches virtually before an esteemed panel of judges. Alexandria LaunchLabs – AgTech selected TerMir as the $100,000 AgTech Innovation Prize winner based on its proprietary, patent-protected technology with a new mode of action for controlling the bacteria that causes citrus greening disease.

“Strategic efforts like our AgTech Innovation Prize are vital to fostering the next generation of leading agtech companies who hold the promise of developing groundbreaking solutions aimed at ensuring a sustainable, accessible and healthy global food supply.”

Blake Stevens, PhD, Head of Alexandria LaunchLabs®

The TerMir team is excited to be selected as the prize winner and to become an active member of the campus communities of Alexandria LaunchLabs. Founded in 2016, Raleigh-based TerMir is developing:

  1. An innovative, safe, and effective treatment for citrus greening. Ichor™, a patented formulation of TerMir break the bacterial disease cycle and eradicate citrus greening.
  2. A novel biological herbicide portfolio of products, based on a series of plant extracts, to control weeds and enhance crop growth.

Alexandria remains focused on providing mission-critical infrastructure and capital to the essential agtech industry. LaunchLabs provides move-in-ready office and laboratory space, shared equipment and services, creative amenities, and access to capital through its Alexandria Seed Capital Platform. The facility is also home to UPL, Indigo Ag, and Boragen.

Read more at ALEXANDRIA

Categories
AgTech Biotech

AgTech startup Enko Chem raises $45 million to bring sustainable biopesticides to market.

Enko Chem Inc. (Enko) publicly launched after securing $45 million in a Series B round of financing, bringing its total funding raised to date to $66 million. Specialised in small-molecule pest control products, the startup’s tech platform is used to discover new ways to protect crops from pests and diseases.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was driven to invest in the startup because of the potential for its technology to help smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia. The latest round attracted a strong mix of existing (Anterra Capital and Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund) and new investors (Finistere Ventures, Novalis LifeSciences, Germin8 Ventures, TO Ventures Food).

“We’re committed to ensuring that smallholder farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have access to affordable innovations that can safely and sustainably control crop pests and diseases, which are likely to intensify and spread into new areas due to climate change.”

Dr. Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Instead of using traditional high-throughput methods to screen molecules for pesticide activity, it uses DNA-encoded libraries to select candidates from among billions of molecules. The technique, pioneered in the drug industry, is less expensive than older methods and allows researchers to run parallel experiments with different targets.

“You can improve safety and outcomes if you know a lot more about the target in the pest you are trying to inhibit. It gives us options to combat pesticide resistance and allows us to address safety and efficacy at the very start of the process.”

Jacqueline Heard, Founder and CEO Enko Chem Inc.

The startup’s launch comes as the need for pesticide alternatives and crop protection becomes more pressing. The factors behind the increase in biopesticides demand are the restrictions on chemical pesticides, the need for residue-free products, and an increase in environmental awareness.

At a time when more than 600 pest species have developed some form of resistance and threaten yield losses of up to 40 percent, Enko is pioneering a new approach by integrating complementary technologies to develop improved products that meet or exceed the safety and sustainability demands of farmers, consumers and regulators around the globe.

Read more at Enko

Categories
AgTech Climate Change

Combating climate change with AgTech and FoodTech

SHAKE Climate Change is a consortium-based programme led by Rothamsted Research. SHAKE helps entrepreneurs and start-ups who are combating climate change with science or tech-based ideas in the areas of agriculture and food production

The £3.5m SHAKE Climate Change Programme has announced its first three ventures to invest in. Energy from manure, a yield boosting nanotech and tools for smarter pest management are the ideas behind three early stage companies selected by the unique fund.

“There has been a lot of publicity recently around the environmental impact especially of eating meat and intensive agricultural crop production – but the contribution of agri-food to our climate footprint is so much more complex and wider than that. It has been really exciting to see that this entrepreneurship support programme has attracted ventures with innovations offering solutions across that wide spectrum.”

Prof. Angela Karp, Interim Director and CEO, Rothamsted Research, World’s Oldest Agricultural Research Institute

They were up against tough competition, but all three of them have displayed great ingenuity in their initial ideas to help reduce the climate impact of food and farming, and they have taken really well to the training and mentorship we have provided so far. The three successful companies, who each receive £140k plus two years of dedicated mentoring and support, are:

  1. EcoNomad Solutions: Offer small-scale solutions for agricultural waste reduction and sustainable resource management. Their biogas and nutrient recovery system is suitable for even the smallest of operations. Other ground-breaking and patented technology by EcoNomad for low-cost solar water pumping and pasteurisation is based solely on passive thermal principles, operating without electricity, solar panels or moving parts of any kind.
  2. Glaia Ltd: Glaia has developed a new class of plant additive called ‘sugar dots’ that can increase photosynthetic efficiency naturally, increasing yields by up to 20 per cent. Sugar-dots are water soluble and can be applied as a foliar spray or within an irrigation system and have been tested on a variety of crops from soft fruit through to wheat and sorghum.
  3. PheroSyn Ltd: Develop pheromones that can be deployed to protect crops and reduce the use of pesticides. Their first products are designed to lure midges that attack wheat, peas and pears away from these crops.

Over the nine-year programme, 15 successful ventures will receive up to a total amount of £140,000 each, plus two years of high-quality training and mentoring from leading experts in business and science, to help further develop their ventures. The programme is funded by the Societe Generale UK Foundation, the independent corporate foundation of Societe Generale Group in the UK.

Read more at Rothamsted Research

Categories
AgTech Research

High-performance PPE masks using wool

Lincoln Agritech, a multidisciplinary research and development company owned by Lincoln University in New Zealand, has received $290,000 in government funding to create biodegradable wool-based personal protective equipment (PPE) masks for COVID-19 pandemic response. Established in 1964, Lincoln Agritech delivers leading-edge science and engineering knowledge and technologies into environmental, primary, processing and new materials applications.

The products will reduce dependence on overseas producers during high-demand pandemic events and reduce the environmental impact of PPE use. The 18-month research programme is using patented technology from the Wool Research Organisation (WRONZ) to change the physical format of the fibre and improve its absorption and virus-neutralising properties, making the masks both highly effective and environmentally sustainable.

“Wool was an ideal material for the filtration and binding needed to develop PPE, but its coarse structure could present limitations. This research will use newly-developed technology that completely changes the physical form of the wool fibre, creating the light, paper-like membranes that look and feel much more like the PPE masks we typically see mass produced.”

Dr Rob Kelly, New Materials Group Manager at Lincoln Agritech

The programme is funded by the $13.57-million COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund (CIAF) announced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in March to boost New Zealand’s ability to respond to current and future pandemics.

Lincoln Agritech has established its wool research and product development capability over several years of partnership with the wool industry through WRONZ, Wool Industry Research Ltd (WRONZ’s research subsidiary) and MBIE. Lincoln Agritech will work closely with WRONZ and local manufacturers, including Christchurch-based FibreTech, with assistance from Auckland filter experts, Lanaco.

Read more at Lincoln Agritech

Categories
FoodTech Plant-based

FoodTech startup, Heartbest, raised US$2 million in Series A funding

Heartbest Foods, the foodtech startup from Mexico has secured an investment of US$2 million from venture capital fund Blue Horizon Ventures. The company has been working with ingredients like amaranth, quinoa, and peas to develop vegan dairy products like milk and cheese. Heartbest Foods, founded in 2017, can currently be found in retailers like Soriana, Chedraui and Costco throughout Mexico.

Heartbest Foods seek to empower people to make a positive impact on their health and the environment in a delicious and effortless way thanks to our products. They start with little questions for great answers:

  1. Why do we need animals to create any kind of food? 
  2. Why can’t we build foods that have the same texture and flavor from plants and be part of solutions aimed at health and climate change?
  3. How can we generate a healthier and more sustainable industry?

It is estimated that 900 gallons of water are required to produce 1 lb of cheese and 17.6 pounds of CO2 needed to produce one gallon of milk. Heartbest foods claim to produce same amount of Cheese with 10 times less water and milk with 60% less emissions. Heartbest managed to significantly impact four of the main problems attributed to intensive livestock farming and consumption: people’s well-being, climate change, efficient use of resources and eliminate animal abuse.

Blue Horizon Ventures, the venture fund backing Heartbest, is a food technology-focused venture capital fund founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneurs and investors Roger Lienhard and Michael Kleindl. The fund aims to support the movement towards a more sustainable food system through innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. Plant based proteins and cellular agriculture (clean meat) are the main focus areas.

The existing food system is broken. It needs massive and quick change to enable the planet to feed its ever growing population over the next decades and to stop the devastating environmental impact of animal agriculture. More and more entrepreneurs are tackling these issues starting very promising companies with a need for financing and thus creating fantastic investment opportunities for investors and so Blue Horizon Ventures.

Investment Thesis, Blue Horizon Ventures.

The closing of these investments in the midst of Covid-19 indicates that the movement towards a more sustainable world at large, and specifically in the food system, is only accelerating and confirms the need to act now.

Read more at Just-Food.