Recent Deals – 14 December

From hydraulic-based chemicals for plant-breeding, to lithium-ion vs. Zinc battery solutions and intelligent mobility 

Agriculture & Food 

Sound Agriculture (2012), a provider of hydraulic-based products for weed control and water efficiency, has raised $75M in Series D funding from BMO Impact Investment, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, FootPrint Coalition, Leaps by Bayer, Syngenta Ventures, S2G Ventures, Fall Line Capital, Cavallo Ventures, and Northpond Ventures. This round is the collaborative effort of new investors, including BMO Impact Investment fund and Chan Zuckerberg, along with returning investors.  

This funding will underpin Sound Agriculture’s plans to advance its research platform and expand its sales and marketing within the United States; the company has also considered expansion plans into markets abroad and will be utilising these funds to develop new partnerships within the plant-breeding sector. The importance of plant-breeding and its ability to reduce farmers’ reliance on synthetic fertilizer without compromising, but rather improving, yields remains a critical aspect of transforming global agricultural practices to align with the boundaries and needs of our environment. 

Materials & Chemicals 

Customcells (2012), a developer of application-specific lithium-ion battery cells which are designed to offer energy storage services, has raised $63M in Series A funding. The round was led by the World Fund, with participation from Abacon Capital, Vsquared Ventures, and Porsche. As reiterated by the World Fund co-founder, Daria Saharova, the fund focuses on technologies with the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by a minimum of 100 million tonnes annually; and energy storage and its vitality to the expansion of renewable energy, continues to play a critical role in tackling the global challenge of reducing emissions at a timely pace.  

Customcells aims to continue advancing the battery market by investing these funds into strengthening its position in aircraft electrification and fostering a competitive advantage by using a ‘first-to-market’ strategy.  Customcells has further plans of expanding its research and design efforts to scale-up its technical advantage over competitors within the battery cell sector, in an overall effort to become a global player within this industry.  

Energy & Power 

ZincFive (2015), is a provider of energy storage and delivery systems through nickel-zinc battery-based solutions. The company leverages the safe and environmentally considerate technology of nickel-zinc chemistry to provide uncompromising high-power density for critical sectors and applications. ZincFive has raised $54M in its recent Series D round led by Helios Climate Ventures with participation from Senator Investment Group, Standard Industries, OGCI Climate Investments, and Japan Energy Fund Ventures. The funding will scale-up ZincFive’s foothold in existing markets through key areas of mission critical applications within data centres and smart transportation; further, it will support ZincFive in accelerating the building of an annual high-volume production capacity to match rising customer demand.  

Resources & Environment 

MineSense Technologies (2008), has developed a data analytics platform which monitors productivity and recovery in the mining industry to improve its operational efficiency. MineSense offers real-time, sensor-based digital solutions for ore sorting in mines, with equipment that estimates the grade of material within every item, down to shovels and buckets. The material focus for MineSense remains with copper, as the start-up recognises this material as a critical component in the challenging transition towards a low-carbon economy.  

The company recently raised $42M in Series E funding led by JP Morgan Asset Management, with participation from Prelude Ventures, Evok Innovations, Cycle Capital, Chrysalix Venture Capital, and BDC Venture Capital. The funding from this round will support MineSense’s entrance into breaching global markets and will extend its solution towards other critical metals, including nickel, cobalt, zinc, and iron. 

Transportation & Logistics 

Einride (2016), a manufacturer of autonomous, electric technology-powered transport vehicles has raised $200M in Series C funding alongside a further $300M in structured debt. The round of debt financing was led by Barclays Capital, while the Series C equity round was funded by AMF, EQT Ventures, Northzone, Polar Structure, Norrsken VC and Temasek. The equity financing will play a critical role in funding Einride’s development plans, specifically those of breaching new markets to deploy its autonomous and digital mobility offerings.  

Over the past 12 months, Einride has announced and deployed expansions across Europe by entering Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Norway; a process which will be scaled-up in the wake of this recent round of funding. Robert Falck, Founder and CEO at Einride, has confirmed that the moment to capitalise on the company’s overarching aim of using intelligent movement to secure a better global future has arrived, stating that now is “the time to not only develop but accelerate the implementation of technology that will create a cleaner, safer and more efficient way to move goods”, as a pivotal step in the run up to securing a better future. 

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