US-based soil biology startup yesterday (25 August) announced it has raised $15m in its latest series B funding round for its proprietary technology, using AI tech to develop sustainable farming practices based on soil analysis.
The latest funding round was led by Prosus Ventures, and was joined by Spanish firms JME Ventures and Seaya Ventures, Netherlands-based Pymwymic, and US-based Viking Global Investors. The investment will reportedly be used to accelerate the company’s next stage of expansion, and develop its biology soil analysis platform. The company already has markets in North America and Europe, with the next phase anticipated to target Asia Pacific, Africa and South America.
Founded in 2015, the startup seeks to provide a better understanding of soil microbes and crop needs, allowing farmers to boost efficiency and growth of crop yields. The group currently has two products; BeCrop and Gheom, to provide growers with soil biology analytics to promote sustainable practice.
BeCrop is described as an ‘all-in-one genetic soil assessment’ that allows farmers to mail in soil samples for analysis, with the sample’s nutrition pathways and biodiversity broken down in the report. Gheom analyses the impacts of agricultural inputs on soils.
“We are on a mission to restore the health and fertility of soil and develop a more sustainable and respectful way to do agriculture,” says Adrian Ferrero, co founder and CEO of Biome Makers. “After building strong relationships with our customers and expanding the operation to Europe and Central America, we recognise the need to scale as we grow, increasing access to our unique tools for the agriculture industry. We’re excited to partner with top-tier investors who share our vision for building a sustainable farming future.”
The news follows Biome Makers’ announcement in April this year that it had developed the first ever AI virtual assistant for sustainable farming, in collaboration with Bayer Crop Science. Using this tech, farmers and agronomists can forecast the effects of products on crops before they’re even applied, helping to improve crop health and yield.
The group has said that given the rapidly expanding global population (and therefore food demand), ensuring sustainable practice is maintained throughout operations is ‘imperative’, and it has cited this reason as to why the business was created.