15 notable deals and things to know this week (2024 โ€“ week #14)

Startup news and deals

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿฝ Wonder, a US-based startup, raised $700M for its food delivery service. Initially, it operated food trucks that delivered freshly cooked food items directly to your home. This was scrapped for a much more mundane business model: it partners with existing top restaurants and cooks them in cloud kitchens. This level of funding seems somehow surprising for such a business model. Weโ€™ll have to see if there is anything more behind it.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Aloha, an American startup, raised $68M for its plant-based protein bars, beverages, and powders.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿน Culture Pop Soda, an American startup, raised $21M for its functional, probiotic soda brand. This is part of a much larger ecosystem of new brands targeting young consumers looking for healthy, fizzy drink options.


๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธย ๐Ÿบย Interesting read on Ekonoke, a Spanish startup applying indoor farming to an unusual produce: hops. Most indoor farming players are focused on growing salads (with a large of them so unsuccessful that they go bankrupt). Ekonokeโ€™s hops can be much more sustainable and grown all year, unlike โ€œoutside hopsโ€. This is highly valuable for brewers, who could also use their equipment all year. As we often say here, indoor farming seems to be a dead space, but far from it; in the ashes of the startups that burnt billions are some very exciting ideas.


๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช๐ŸŒฑ Arevo, a Swedish startup, raised 6.6โ‚ฌM for its agricultural inputs that enhance plant growth while reducing the amount of nitrogen required.


๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ๐ŸŒฑ Techcoop, a Vietnamese startup, raised $5M to provide digital services and financial solutions to Vietnamโ€™s farmers, notably to buy inputs.


๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐ŸŒฑ NetZero, a French startup, raised 18โ‚ฌM to scale its Biochar production in Brazil.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย ๐Ÿฝ Chiyo, an American startup, raised $3M for its postpartum nutrition meal delivery service. This is again an example of a โ€œfood-as-medicineโ€ approach in the FoodTech ecosystem.


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿฅฉ Innocent Meat, a German startup, raised โ‚ฌ3M for what it calls an automated โ€œPlug-and-Produce” solution for cultivated meat. It aims to enable any meat processor to switch its production of cultivated meat by providing it with all the tools and biocomponents required.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿฒ Proxy Foods, an American startup, raised $2.3M for its AI recipe formulation platform. It will help F&B industry players solve challenges during the formulation process.


๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐ŸŒฑ Clean Food Group, a UK startup, raised โ‚ฌ2.9M for its tech, which uses precision fermentation to โ€œtransformโ€ food waste into a sustainable source of oil and fat ingredients. It notably aims to launch an alternative to palm oil.


๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ทย ๐Ÿ“ฆย Boxy, a French startup mostly known for its container-size autonomous stores, will shut down all its points of sale. Instead, it will focus on B2B smart fridges inside companies. This is yet another blow for the autonomous store ecosystem. From the highs four years ago when Amazon Go seemed to be the supermarketโ€™s future to the current situation where many large retailers are scaling down or simply removing self-checkout options.


Regulation & public support

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑย ๐Ÿฅฉย The Protein Brewery, a Dutch biomass fermentation startup, received regulatory approval in both the US and Singapore for its protein.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย โš–๏ธย At least seven US states seek to ban cultivated meat with proposed bills to limit distribution and naming. Beyond some fringe conspiracy theories (Bill Gates is an investor in some cultivated meat startups, soโ€ฆ), the debate seems much more about protecting the existing meat industry than the consumer.

Industry news & trends

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญโ˜•ย Nestlรฉ announced an initiative to decarbonise its cocoa supply chain, with the aim of reducing and removing 500,000 tonnes of carbon in the next 20 years. Beyond the current interest in the price of chocolate, we are observing a growing discussion around its environmental impact, notably with initiatives to replace it with plantโ€”or cell-based alternatives.

[New report] ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ’ฐย State of FoodTech in Europe in 2024
๐Ÿ’ฅ Learnings from FoodTech bankruptcies

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