CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – October 25, 2022
AgroSpheres, a leader in developing the next generation of environmentally friendly crop health products, announced today that it had raised $22 million in a Series B financing round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood and Ospraie Ag Science. Bidra Innovation Ventures and its existing investor, Cavallo Ventures, participated in the financing round. This funding will be used to accelerate product commercialization, expand manufacturing capacity, and seed broader applications of the AgroSpheres AgriCell platform technology.
“In this unprecedented bear market, food security, environmental footprint, and supply chain resilience are of paramount importance,” said Payam Pourtaheri, Founder and CEO of AgroSpheres. “We are thankful for the support from our partners at Lewis & Clark, OAS, Bidra, and Cavallo, as we take significant strides towards our vision of a future built by nature’s technologies and bring our biobased technologies to partners globally.”
AgroSpheres’ biomanufacturing platform has enabled cost-effective manufacturing and successful field application of novel biological modalities. The unprecedented field success of foliar-applied AgriCell-RNAi technologies has garnered significant industry interest. The company directly addresses the three key bottlenecks that biologicals face today: cost, performance, and stability. Following AgroSpheres’ open technology demonstration day, Robb Fraley, Ph.D., known by many as the father of agriculture biotechnology, endorsed the technology as the one that will deliver on the unfulfilled promise of RNAi in Agriculture.
“The manufacturing expansion will allow us to deliver on the increasing demand for shelf-stable RNA and supply high-quality RNA at the lowest market price to partners in industry, in academia, and at the farm gate,” said Ameer Shakeel, Founder and CTO of AgroSpheres.
Manufacturing, biorationals, and Formulation-as-a-Service (FaaS) are the three pillars of AgroSpheres. The biorational division is spearheading the first commercial launch in Agriculture of AgroSpheres’ biodegradable encapsulation technology applied to volatile organic small molecules. In partnership with distribution, the product portfolio comprises AgriCell-enabled dose reduction and enhanced performance botanical inputs for crop health. The FaaS division holds major strategic collaborations between AgroSpheres and key AgBiotech companies, aimed at enabling novel biological modalities and microplastic or solvent replacement from existing formulations. The company’s three pillars work collectively to achieve AgroSpheres’ mission of providing farmers with reliable and affordable biobased solutions worldwide.
”AgroSpheres’ breakthrough technology is best in class, backed by verifiable evidence. The results speak for themselves,” said Amar Singh, President, BIDRA Innovation Ventures. “Fall armyworm in Africa is a critical pest impacting millions of lives. We are particularly interested in how AgroSpheres’ technology can be used for Faw, especially considering resistance and toxicology issues with some of the incumbent chemistries today.”
“We are extremely impressed by the AgroSpheres’ founders and the cutting-edge biological manufacturing and delivery platform they have developed,” said Larry Page, Ph.D., Managing Director, Lewis and Clark AgriFood. “As a longtime AgTech investor, I am aware of the challenges in bringing effective bio-based solutions to growers. AgroSpheres has the biomanufacturing capability and consistent, year-to-year field trial results validated by third parties across the globe to be an industry-changing company for the years to come.”
As part of Series B, Larry Page has joined AgroSpheres Board of Directors.
AgroSpheres envisions a future built by nature’s technologies. Located in Charlottesville, VA, the company’s mission is to transform agriculture through reliable and affordable biobased solutions. AgroSpheres’ patented AgriCell and AgriShell technologies enable the development of biological pesticides that have a multi-year shelf-life and high efficacy in the field. AgroSpheres’ delivery platform makes it cost-effective to deliver oils, small molecules, and semiochemicals in the field at a significantly reduced dose. For more information, visit www.agrospheres.com.
About Lewis & Clark AgriFood
Lewis & Clark AgriFood is a St. Louis-based group of experienced investment professionals who are passionate about investing in companies that are at the forefront of food and agriculture innovation. We look for companies that deliver benefits to the stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector, from the producer, through the supply chain, all the way to the consumer. We invest in companies that are at the growth stage of their evolution, poised to scale their technology to a national or global scale. As founders, operators, investors, and scientists, our seasoned investment team brings a breadth of quality sector experience to every investment.
About Ospraie Ag Science
Ospraie Ag Science LLC is an investment vehicle that supports productivity enhancing companies in the agriculture technology space with a focus on sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life for farmers and society. Utilizing our extensive network and 25 years of experience investing in agriculture markets, we identify solutions that help farmers “Do More With Less” and that increase profitability, reduce environmental impact and improve their quality-adjusted yield.
About Bidra Innovation Ventures
We identify, nurture, and empower innovative solutions to boost agricultural ecosystems worldwide. Founded in 2022, Bidra is a U.S.-based agtech fund with the backing of Morocco’s Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and OCP mining group.
About the Wilbur-Ellis Companies
Cavallo Ventures is the investment arm of Wilbur-Ellis. Founded in 1921, the Wilbur-Ellis companies are leading international marketers, distributors and manufacturers of agricultural products, animal nutrients and specialty chemicals and ingredients. By developing strong relationships, making strategic market investments, and capitalizing on new opportunities, the Wilbur-Ellis companies have continued to grow the business with sales of over $3.5 billion. For more information, please visit www.wilburellis.com