rop Enhancement Inc., an innovator of sustainable agrochemical products that protect or enhance crop yields, has raised an $8M Series B financing round led by Spruce Capital Partners/MLS. Joining Spruce are existing investors 1955 Capital (managed by Andrew Chung), Phoenix Venture Partners, Cavallo Ventures, and new investors Davinia Investments Ltd. and Alexandria Ventures.
The funding will be used to support strategic partnership development with agrochemical companies and regional distributors, broaden field trial targets in high-value fruit and vegetable segments, and advance regulatory efforts in the United States, European Union, Brazil, and Central America.
“This latest financing reflects the successful de-risking of multiple aspects of our business: we’ve advanced our core technology, brought in top talent, addressed regulatory requirements, and cultivated several market-entry approaches,” said Kevin Chen, Ph.D., CEO of Crop Enhancement. “Helping growers protect or enhance crop yield is even more important during the current crisis. We are grateful for the support of our investor syndicate and look forward to welcoming other like-minded organizations and investors to join our mission.”
Crop Enhancement has developed proprietary sustainable bio-compatible chemistries that, when sprayed using conventional farm equipment, beneficially protect plant surfaces-leaves, stems, and fruit-to significantly improve their resistance to pests and diseases and decrease the need for synthetic pesticides and pesticide applications.
The company’s first product, CropCoat, offers growers a new sustainable solution with effective modes of action that has demonstrated yield protection and enhancement relative to synthetic chemistries in several global crops. CropCoat can also be applied in conjunction with agricultural inputs such as nutrients and other active ingredients.
“Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned about how their food was grown and made. In response, the agriculture and food industries are investing in new approaches to improve production,” said Greg Young, managing director at Spruce Capital Partners. “That’s why we’re so excited about Crop Enhancement, whose technology provides growers with crop protection solutions that employ softer and safer chemistries.”
“A growing middle class coupled with economic advancement across Southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa, has ratcheted up pressure on growers globally to improve crop production output and sustainability,” said Andrew Chung, managing partner at 1955 Capital. “We’re pleased to be supporting Crop Enhancement as they pursue their mission to help growers around the world face this macrotrend.”
The Series B raise, along with recent appointments of industry experts Jean Pougnier and Dr. Damian Hajduk to its leadership team, enables Crop Enhancement to focus more resources on its go-to-market initiatives and broaden its IP portfolio.
Crop Enhancement has achieved several important milestones in its field trial programs of the CropCoat product. Recent field trial highlights include:
• Coffee – protection against coffee berry borer and coffee leaf miner insects, as well as coffee leaf rust (a type of fungus)
• Almond – protection against navel orangeworm insects
• Cacao – protection against mirid and cocoa pod borer insects, as well as black pod (a type of mold)
• Detailed mechanistic studies on multiple agronomically significant pests
• In the 2020 growing season, in addition to coffee and almonds, field trials are planned on grapes, apples, broccoli, onions, and tomatoes.