As the price of chemical chemistry rises, so does the funding for biological alternatives

Survey data is a common feature of AFN, in which we analyze data on investments in the agri-food market provided by our parent company, AgFunder.

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According to preliminary data from AgFunder, startups developing biological materials for crops raised just over $ 892 million worldwide last year.

This is much more than twice their total funding for the previous year, indicating how much interest in space has grown.

Note that this is an increase in AgFunder figures first quoted by Reuters earlier this month. Our data are adjusted using a model of how they will look in 12 months in the future based on historical trends to take into account projected delays in reports. Therefore, they may differ from previously published versions of the same data.

Below we list the 15 best deals to finance biologics from 2021 on the amount raised in US dollars.

We have included all private enterprises operating on a variety of organic crops, including:

    • Biofertilizers
    • Biopesticides
    • Biofungicides
    • Biostimulants
    • Other biological means of control

15 best deals on biological materials, 2021 fiscal year

The company Country The amount selected Stage Transaction date
Pivot Bio USA $ 430 million D July
AgBiome USA $ 116 million D Veras
Anuvia nutrients for plants USA $ 103 million S Feb.
Invaio Science USA $ 88.9 million S May
Invaio Science USA $ 50 million Debt October
Vestaron Corporation USA $ 18.3 million B Feb.
BioPhero Denmark $ 16.8 million A sac
Gayaga France $ 15.4 million A July
Base BioAg Israel $ 11 million A May
Micropep Technologies France $ 10.1 million A жн
Kula Bio USA $ 10 million Seeds May
Right USA $ 10 million S Feb.
AgroSustain Switzerland $ 5.19 million A July
Lucent BioSciences Canada $ 4.2 million Seeds November
BigSIS Great Britain $ 2.05 million Seeds October

By geography, of the top 15 offers:

      • Eight (53%) of the companies involved are headquartered in the United States.
      • France is in second place with two deals (13%).
      • Canada, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland and the United Kingdom accepted one deal each.

Undoubtedly, the biggest deal in the biological space last year – and among 20 best in agri-food technology in general – it was Pivot Bio‘s $ 430 million Round of Series D in July, led DCVC and Themes.

Pivot Bio is one of several startups that offer an alternative to conventional nitrogen fertilizers by “programming” microbes in the soil so that they produce more elements in place.

Another company listed above is working on a similar solution Kula Biowhich uses nitrogen-retaining bacteria Xanthobacter autotrophicus. It raised $ 10 million in seed financing in May [disclosure: AgFunder is an investor in Kula Bio.]

Second place AgBiome focuses on pest and disease control: it scans the natural world for microbes that may be suitable for such purposes – its original products are fungicides – and it has received $ 116 million for the September round of the D Series.

Prices for chemicals through the roof

There are two main factors behind this explosion of investor interest in biological resources.

On the one hand, the combination of environmental, regulatory and consumer pressures pushes the agricultural industry away from over-dependence on and dependence on chemicals.

Chemical-based synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are usually inaccurately sprayed on fields. Excess is leached into the environment and can be oxidized, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

It is argued that biological alternatives are more focused in their actions and have less negative impact on their environment.

The second major driver comes from the market. Partly due to disruptions in Covid-19 supply chains, prices for various chemicals are skyrocketing.

This is especially true of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which are mainly made from raw materials such as ammonia and urea. Prices for these goods took off during 2021 and earlier this year, in some cases reaching multi-year highs.

Prices for herbicides and pesticides have also increased rapid growth trend. As the price of chemical chemistry rises, so does the funding for biological alternatives

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