eFishery Nets $30M HSBC Loan for Sustainable Aquaculture

This week has been a whirlwind for the agritech and foodtech sectors, marked by significant financial movements, strategic partnerships, and unfortunate bankruptcies. Notably, aquaculture supply chain startup eFishery announced a substantial $30 million loan from HSBC Indonesia, aimed at expanding its platform to support more smallholder fish and shrimp farmers. This move underscores the growing recognition of the importance of sustainable aquaculture in feeding a burgeoning global population. The loan is expected to enable eFishery to scale its innovative solutions that help farmers optimize their yields and reduce waste, thereby contributing to the broader goal of sustainable food production.

In other financial news, impact investor Pollination unveiled a new $150 million climate-focused fund. This fund is designed to back startups that are developing solutions to combat climate change, reflecting a growing trend in the investment community towards supporting environmentally sustainable technologies. The Queensland government has also thrown its weight behind Pollination’s initiative, signaling strong institutional support for climate tech ventures. This fund is poised to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that could play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

However, not all news in the agritech world was positive. Takeoff Technologies, known for its micro-fulfillment platform for eGrocery, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This development is a stark reminder of the challenges that even innovative companies can face in a competitive and rapidly changing market. Takeoff Technologies had been a pioneer in automating grocery fulfillment, but it appears that financial sustainability remained elusive. The bankruptcy filing will likely have ripple effects throughout the eGrocery sector, potentially slowing down the adoption of similar technologies.

Meanwhile, the foodtech sector saw a significant funding round with Prolific Machines raising $55 million in a Series B1 round. The optogenetics startup uses light to control virtually any cell function in any cell type, a revolutionary approach that could have far-reaching implications for biomanufacturing and synthetic biology. This funding will enable Prolific Machines to accelerate the development and commercialization of its technology, potentially transforming industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to agriculture.

German IoT startup Packwise also made headlines by securing funds to scale its industrial tech to North America. This move indicates the growing demand for IoT solutions in optimizing industrial processes, including those in agriculture and food production. Packwise’s technology could enhance supply chain efficiency and reduce waste, aligning with broader trends towards sustainability and digitalization in the agritech sector.

In the realm of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, Phospholutions partnered with WeGrow AG to launch its RhizoSorb technology across Central and South America. This technology aims to improve nutrient use efficiency in crops, a critical factor in enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability. Similarly, Protein Industries Canada and its partners announced a $6.2 million investment to expand the lupin industry in Canada, highlighting the increasing interest in alternative protein sources.

On the innovation front, vertical farming company Oishii opened a solar-powered facility designed to grow strawberries at 20 times the usual yield. This facility represents a significant leap in vertical farming technology, promising to meet market demand more sustainably. Additionally, Brevel unveiled a commercial algae protein plant focused on alternative dairy products, positioning its protein as superior to traditional soy and pea proteins.

These developments collectively paint a picture of a dynamic and evolving agritech and foodtech landscape. While financial challenges remain for some, the overall trend points towards increased investment in sustainable and innovative technologies that promise to reshape the future of food production and agriculture.

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