16 notable deals and things to know this week (2024 โ€“ week #6)

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย ๐Ÿฆ„ Inari, a US-based startup, raised $103M and became 2024โ€™s first new FoodTech unicorn. The startup develops a platform that combines vast arrays of data to develop seeds with increased yields and lower fertiliser and water requirements.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งย ๐Ÿง‚ย MicroSalt, a startup developing a salt reduction technology, went public through a ยฃ18.5 million IPO. It raised ยฃ3M in the process, which will be used to expand its production capacity. Interestingly, some European startups (Moolec, MicroSalt) are now choosing public markets to raise money instead of going directly to VCs. Combined with the explosion in popularity of club deals (where people can invest as little as โ‚ฌ1000), it shows a growing appetite among retail investors to bet on the future of food.

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ชย ๐ŸŒพ Apollo Agriculture, a Kenyan startup, raised $10M in debt for its platform that empowers small-scale farmers, giving them access to better inputs, financing, and training.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งย ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ชย ๐Ÿ›ตย Delivery Hero sold its 4.5% minority stake in Deliveroo. This is a surprise as Delivery Hero was seen as a potential acquirer for Deliveroo in a space that still needs consolidation.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย ๐Ÿค–ย Chef Robotics, an American startup, raised $14.75M for its commercial kitchen automation solutions. Chef Robotics focuses on food assembly, unlike most startups in this space, which produce cooking robots.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งย ๐Ÿฅฅ The Coconut Collaborative, a UK-based startup, raised ยฃ1.5M for its coconut-based yoghurts.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑย ๐Ÿ›’ ย ZeroQs, a Polish retail startup, raised โ‚ฌ457K for its smart shopping carts.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธย ๐Ÿถย Dogfy, a Spanish pet food startup, was acquired. It sold for 30Mโ‚ฌ of products in 2023. After the acquisition of Butternut Box last year, this deal shows the strength of the pet food ecosystem (notably fresh pet food). Very few human-oriented food brands achieve such levels of sales and growth.

๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿซ Voyage Foods, a Hong Kong-based startup, raised $22M for its range of spreads (peanut-free โ€œpeanut butterโ€, cocoa-free chocolate, etc.).

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿซ Planet A Foods, a German startup, raised โ‚ฌ14.2M for its cocoa-free chocolate created through fermentation.

๐ŸŒย ๐Ÿ’ฐย A study found that switching to more sustainable food production methods (and changing how we consume food) could benefit $10 trillion per year. This would come by increasing the benefits of the whole food value chain. I am always quite sceptical of these studies because:

  1. the (big) caveat is that the final huge number displayed is actually compensation for the hidden costs (deforestation, degradation of the soils, biodiversity loss, etc.) of our current food system. The problem is that today, nobody pays for these costs, so unless some form of carbon tax is implemented, these trillion dollars are just monopoly money.
  2. through them, the current food system appears to be โ€œevilโ€ as it seems simple to switch to sustainable production and consumption practices. However, there is a straightforward reason that food is produced the way it is: price. We won’t find a path if we find a way to combine sustainability with low prices (or through a compensation and incentive mechanism, such asโ€ฆ a carbon tax).

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งย ๐Ÿ“ฆ Xampla, a British cleantech company, raised ยฃ5.5M for its plant-based, biodegradable material to replace plastic.

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐ŸŒฝ Tryon, a French startup, raised โ‚ฌ6M for its micro-methanisation technology.

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ FoodPilot, a French startup, raised โ‚ฌ4.5M for its digital food safety management platform.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย โ˜•ย Robert Downey Jr., the American actor, is entering the coffee industry by launching a new coffee brand named Happy. Beyond the traditional sustainability claims, this coffee is supposed to draw attention to mental health.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ’Š Foodsmart, an American startup, raised $10M for its food-as-medicine platform.

๐Ÿ“ˆ ๐Ÿ”ฎ FoodTech trends: top, emerging and disillusion
๐Ÿ›๏ธ๐Ÿฅ— The politics of alternative proteins

Leave a Reply