Recent Deals – 7 March
Drones for more than selfies, crop waste transformed into leather alternatives, and vertical farming systems shaping the future of farming – Recent deals worth looking at:
Agriculture & Food
Futura Gaia (2018) has designed a vertical agriculture system which performs indoor farming on living soil within a controlled environment. Its technology has built future farms in peri-urban areas by combining precision agronomy, culture systems and software tools to optimise energy consumption, remove heavy pesticides, and cancel-out food wastage. The cherry on the cake is that all of these improvements are affordable to clients and customers.
The startup has raised $11M in a Series A round by UI Investissement, Sofilaro, Région Sud Investissement, CAAP Creation, Occipac, Elpis and Alain François Raymond, Banque des Territoires, Abeille Impact Investing France, Colam Impact, and InvESS’t PACA. This round of funding will be used to enhance its agronomical and technological research and development capabilities and support the installation of its first vertical farm at an industrial scale.
Energy & Power
Skydio (2014) is contributing to smarter horizons with its artificial intelligence-powered drones which use predictive technologies to make intelligent flying decisions without any added complexity. The increased demand for drones, for purposes beyond backyard or selfie entertainment, are coming from consumer, business and government streams, with drone makers in a prime position to capitalise on the growing wave of interest.
Skydio has recently announced a $230M Series E funding round led by Linse Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Next47, IVP, DoCoMo, Nvidia, the Walton Family Foundation, Hercules Capital, Axon and UP.Partners. This round of financing will be instrumental in Skydio’s growth plans, allowing them to begin development on a new manufacturing facility in America to keep up with the growing demand.
Over the past three years Skydio has seen a 30x growth which has positioned the company as the largest drone manufacturer in the U.S., with its drones being employed in over half of all U.S. Department of Transportation and over 200 public safety agencies across 47 states.
Materials & Chemicals
Persiskin (2021) continues to support the plant-substitute materials industry with a leather alternative made from persimmon waste. Estimates found that over 50% of persimmon crop harvest was being wasted each season – the past tense is deliberate as Persiskin is taking that waste and turning it into leather and synthetic alternatives that require no additional fuel, water, and land resources to produce, and that is not made using toxic chemicals.
The company is moving beyond the University gates of Parc Cientific de la Univseristat de Valenica (PCUV) with $213M in a seed round by La Comunidad de Valencia. The funds will be used to continue developing its technology and business operations.
Resources & Environment
Divert (2007) has changed the game in two of the industries with the highest volumes of waste — food and fashion. These notoriously troublesome siblings, F&F, are being brought down by Divert’s recovery services which provide tools for food tracking, donating, and recycling to integrate in the existing workflow of operations.
The company recently bagged $100M in Growth Equity from Ara Partners and Enbridge alongside an infrastructure development agreement of $1B solely from Enbridge. The $1B infrastructure agreement will support Divert in accelerating the expansion of its anaerobic digestion facilities which convert food waste into renewable natural gas energy, with the potential to offset up to almost 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Alongside this transformative leap for the industry, the equity funding will be used to scale its facilities in every major geographic region across the U.S. with the overarching aim of having a facility within 100 miles of 80% of the U.S. population by 2031.
Transportation & Logistics
Electra Vehicles (2015) is building technologies to provide energy storage solutions across multiple sectors. Its artificial intelligence-based platform offers design, control and analytical services which use its self-learning capabilities to learn user’s habits over time and organically improve its system performance. It enables electric vehicle companies to compare various energy storage system specifications and battery systems.
The company has raised $21M in Series A funding in a round led by United Ventures and Stellantis Ventures, with participation from LIFTT S.p.A., Club degli Investitori, and BlackBerry Limited. The funding from this round will support Electra Vehicles in accelerating its commercialisation and expanding its operation into Italy and across Europe more broadly.
Astroscale (2013) is making sure that space does not become humanity’s second unintended trashcan, the first trashcan being our earth… naturally. As our daily lives are powered by services from space, it only makes sense to provide some services in return. That’s where Astroscale shows up, providing on-orbit servicing across all orbits with flexibility and choice between a spectrum of services. A pivotal aspect of its service is its active debris removal for each mission, ensuring that we maintain our new playground of exploration in better conditions than we maintained the first.
The company has recently raised $76M in Series G funding in a round by Mitsubishi Electric, Yusaku Maezawa, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi Corporation, Development Bank of Japan, and FEL Corporation. The funding from this round will be used to continue developing its technology and to support its expansion plans at a global scale as it moves its presence beyond the UK, Singapore, Israel and Japan, and ventures into new markets.