Biome Makers closes $4M to assess the quality of the ‘gut bacteria’ of a farm’s soil – gpgmail


The agriculture industry faces huge problems of sustainability. The world’s population is increasing, leading to higher food demand, but this then threatens increasing deforestation, pesticide use, and some fertilizers that are responsible for greenhouse emissions. Farming can also be a source of carbon sequestration, but how to preserve that? Plus, land quality is being decreased due to over-framing. All this while agriculture has been an underserved industry in terms of technology development compared to others.

So it’s the right time to look at the importance of the “microbiome” in agriculture processes to understand what’s really happening in our crops. The microbiome comprises all of the genetic material within a microbiota (the entire collection of microorganisms in a specific niche, such as in farming ). It’s like looking at your gut bacteria, but for a farm.

Soil contains millions of microbes that all play a crucial role in the health of the crop, and this is why microbes in the soil are an important “biomarker”. Thus, understanding the microbes in the soil can lead to important actionable data.

Today Biome Makers, a technology company that uses advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence to analyze a soil’s ecosystem and provide actionable data-driven insights to farmers, has closed a $4M financing round led by Seaya Ventures and JME Ventures, with participation by London VC LocalGlobe. The financing will be used to keep expanding the company’s footprint across different geographies (U.S., Europe, Latam) and crop types, as well as an assessment system for agricultural products.

The company was founded by Adrián Ferrero (CEO) and Alberto Acedo (CSO), who have previously co-founded a successful startup in digital healthcare and have a strong scientific background. This is the second financing round for the company as it has previously raised $2M from a group of international investors, including Illumina, the global leading manufacturer of DNA sequencing instruments, through the Illumina Accelerator, Viking Global Investors, a leading US-based investment management firm.

Although other companies as Indigo Ag, Concentric, Pivot Bio or Marrone BioInnovations use similar techniques for biome identification, they claim to be the only company providing an open digital service and portal aimed at farmers, in order to democratize the microbiological information that will help them make informed decisions about their agricultural practices.

Biome Makers takes a different approach and looks below the surface. Currently, there are many companies that carry out physical-chemical analysis of the soil, but until now the microbiome dimension has not been taken into account. They say it is a new way of looking at the soil that provides information that had not been taken into account when making decisions in the field.


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Impossible Foods goes to the grocery store – gpgmail


After receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Impossible Foods has cleared the last regulatory hurdle it faced to rolling out in grocery stores.

The company is targeting a September release of Impossible products on grocery store shelves, joining its competitor Beyond Meat on grocery store shelves.

The news comes as the company said it inked a major supply agreement with the OSI Group, a food processing company to increase the availability of its Impossible Burger.

Impossible Foods has been facing shortages of its product, which it can’t make fast enough to meet growing customer demand.

The supply constraints have been especially acute as the company inks more deals with fast food vendors like Burger King, White Castle, and Qdoba to supply its Impossible protein patty and ground meal to a growing number of outlets.

Impossible Foods products are now served in over 10,000 locations around the world.

Earlier this year, the company hired Dennis Woodside and Sheetal Shah to scale up its manufacturing operations and help manage its growth into international markets. The company began selling its product in Singapore earlier this summer.

May not only saw new executives joining the Impossible team, but a new capital infusion as well. Impossible Foods picked up $300 million in financing from investors including Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.

With the new FDA approval, Impossible Foods will now be able to go head to head with its chief rival, Beyond Meat. The regulatory approval will also help to dispel questions that have swirled around the safety of its innovative soy leghemoglobin that have persisted since the company began its expansion across the U.S.

Last July, the company received a no-questions letter from the FDA, which confirmed that the company’s heme was safe to eat, according to a panel of food-safety experts.

The remaining obstacle for the company, was whether or not the company’s “heme” could be considered a color additive. That approval — the use of heme as a color additive — is what the FDA announced today.

“We’ve been engaging with the FDA for half a decade to ensure that we are completely compliant with all food-safety regulations—for the Impossible Burger and for future products and sales channels,” said Impossible Foods Chief Legal Officer Dana Wagner. “We have deep respect for the FDA as champion of US food safety, and we’ve always gone above and beyond to comply with every food-safety regulation and to provide maximum transparency about our ingredients so that our customers can have 100% confidence in our product.”


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