13 notable deals and things to know this week (2024 – week #24)

Startup news and deals

🇺🇸🔬 Prolific Machines, an American startup, raised $55M for its bioreactor technology for cell cultivation, designed to enhance protein production using light. It has applications both for food and medicine. More broadly, we observe a push towards startups that are developing solutions to scale the production of synthetic biology (through precision fermentation and cellular agriculture)  as current production levels are both too costly and too small to have any real impact.

🇩🇰 🍺 EvodiaBio, a Danish startup, raised €7M to produce sustainable natural aromas through precision fermentation. Its first ingredient is an aroma for non-alcoholic beers.

🇮🇱🍫 Kokomodo, an Israeli startup, raised $0.75M for its plant cell culture technology to produce cocoa. It says it should reach price parity with premium cocoa in a few years. The hype around startups applying cellular agriculture to plants (see our insight on this topic here) is impressive. It seems to be largely boosted by the rise in the price of cocoa. As raw materials prices tend to fluctuate widely, will this remain as hot a topic when prices will fall?

🇨🇦 🌾 IntelliCulture, a Canadian startup, raised $2.5M for its software optimising equipment and crop management for high-value crops.

🇺🇸🍷 Lumo, an American startup, raised $7M for its smart irrigation technology to optimise water use in vineyards.

🇮🇳 🌾 Fyllo, an Indian startup, raised $4M for its platform for farmers using AI and IoT to enhance crop productivity and profitability.

🇺🇸 💥 Another bankruptcy: Takeoff, a US-based startup developing automated micro-fulfilment e-commerce grocery solutions, is seeking to sell its assets.

🇫🇷🌿 Mo.del, a French startup, raised €2M to industrialise its “Viti-Tunnel”, a device for protecting vineyards from bad weather while reducing pesticide use.

🇮🇱 🥩 Aleph Farms, an Israeli startup and one of the world’s leading cultivating meat players, is laying off 30% of its workforce to focus on an “asset light” strategy. Like many startups in this space, it faces difficulties scaling and raising money.

Regulation & public report

🇺🇸 🧃 Poppi, a US-based beverage startup, is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging its claims about prebiotic benefits are misleading. Poppi reached $100M in sales, making it one of the fastest-growing beverage brands in the US and a beacon of the healthy / better-for-you category.

Industry news & trends

🇨🇭👵 As birthrates fall, Nestlé wants to focus on the rising number of elderly people, notably in developed economies.

🇺🇸 💳 QR codes on tables replacing menus have been lost: in many locations, guests have complained enough for “old-school” menus to be reintroduced.

🇺🇸 🍕 Domino’s is using an AI to anticipate pizza orders before they are actually made. We can’t stop progress, isn’t it? Next, AI will have them deliver a pizza before we know we want it.

🧪🌱 Molecular farming: the hot new trend
🍔 Hybrid products are back - is it a good idea?

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