Monday, December 27, 2021

14 European Agritech Startups

Another article from "FT backed" Sifted:

By 2050, our food system will need to provide for an estimated 9.7bn people. Add to that the threat that climate change poses to our food security, and it’s clear that agriculture needs to adapt, fast.

Despite this urgency, agritech has largely remained a niche focus, with VC investment into European agritech startups at $726m this year. That dwindles in comparison to a sector like healthtech, which brought in $15.5bn this year.

And yet, early successes are stoking investors’ attention. These include the sector’s first unicorn, vertical farming startup Infarm, as well as insect farming startup InnovaFeed, which raised a €140m Series C last year.

With the sector picking up steam, Sifted asked four agritech-focused VCs which startups are on their radar. The only catch: they couldn’t nominate companies from their portfolios.  

Laetitia de Panafieu, investment principal at Astanor Ventures

Belgium-based Astanor Ventures launched its $325m fund last year, Europe’s largest focused on agriculture and food. They support startups in Europe and North America. Portfolio companies include Ynsect, Infarm and Notpla.

Neofarm — France

Neofarm provides “turnkey farms” to partners, which are based on principles of regenerative agriculture to produce local, organic vegetables. The startup takes care of the farms’ installation and maintenance and provides software to manage and partially automate farming processes. CEO and cofounder Alexia is a role model for female entrepreneurship in the agritech sector and part of the Sista association, which promotes female entrepreneurship.

Neoplants — France

Although 90% of our time is spent indoors, indoor air pollution is 5x higher than outdoor air pollution due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Neoplants is developing plants that are bioengineered to eliminate air pollution at dramatically increased levels. The duo of founders has a strong technical and business background and an ambitious vision for growth in a category that they are building themselves. We love how the company is finding elegant ways to solve a significant problem via “plants with a purpose”.

FA Bio — UK

Currently, 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be directly attributed to synthetic fertilisers. FA Bio uses a unique targeted sampling strategy to collect microbial isolates from agricultural fields and investigate their potential to be developed into superior bioproducts. In this way, the startup helps discover microbial biofertilisers and biofungicides that could increase agricultural productivity whilst improving soil health. FA Bio founders Àngela and Kerry are extremely impact-driven, and creatively improve our understanding of the relationships between microbes and plants to contribute to the protection of our natural ecosystems.

EV Biotech — Netherlands

EV Biotech creates microbial cell factories (MCFs) for the industrial production of high-value chemicals and proteins. Using digital modelling, the startup determines ideal genetic changes with the highest compound yield for greater development efficiency. All of this is made possible by an exceptionally interdisciplinary and diverse team with different technical backgrounds working together towards a common goal.

Daniëlla Vellinga, associate director at Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund

The Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund was launched by Rabobank to invest in food and agriculture startups in Western Europe, Israel and the US from seed to Series B. The fund has invested in startups such as 30MHz, Saga Robotics and InnovoPro.

The companies listed with an * are not portfolio companies of the Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, but have partnerships with the fund through other initiatives including its Carbon Farming initiative and Foodbytes! Pitch 2021 programme.....


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