Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Harvest Road invest in Rumin8

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a VC fund founded by Bill Gates, contributed to a $12m second-phase seed round alongside Harvest Road and other investors.

Bill Gates-founded fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Andrew Forrest’s Harvest Road Group have backed the second phase of a seed funding round for Australian climate technology business Rumin8.

The two seed rounds have seen Rumin8 raise approximately $17.5 million, with the second phase raising $12 million, according to a statement from the firm.

Rumin8 is a  start-up based in Western Australia that is developing solutions to reduce methane emissions in livestock agriculture. The firm says it “identifies naturally occurring compounds that have anti-methanogenic properties and reproduces them in a highly efficient, low-cost, scalable, and high-quality process,” that can then be included in livestock feed to reduce their emissions.

The second phase of seed funding has raised capital that will be used to fund commercial trials in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the US, as well as for product brand development and the development of a pilot manufacturing plant.

Rumin8 has become the first Australia-based company in the portfolio of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion venture capital fund launched in 2016 by billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and other investors with a focus on clean energy investments in five sectors, one of which is agriculture.

Among Rumin8’s other investors are the Aware Super Sentient WA Growth Fund and US-based Prelude Ventures, both of whom made top-up commitments to the second-phase seed round after committing during the first phase. The firm said it had received considerable interest from a range of climate funds that saw its phase two seed round close over-subscribed.

BEV CEO Carmichael Roberts said in a statement: “The demand for sustainable protein has never been more apparent, which is why BEV is keenly interested in reducing methane emissions from beef and dairy. Rumin8 offers a low cost, scalable toolbox that has already proven to be effective in reducing emissions. Our team will support Rumin8 in working closely with farmers to expand the reach of this solution globally.”

Harvest Road is the agriculture arm of Tattarang, the family office of Australian iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola Forrest. The firm’s CEO Paul Slaughter said the investment in Rumin8 complemented its other investments, which include several large-scale Australian cattle stations.

“We are actively seeking solutions to reduce methane emissions in livestock supply chains, with Harvest Road supporting multiple emerging technologies focused on methane reduction in ruminant animals,” he said. “Feed additives are an important pillar in our strategy to reduce our carbon footprint and support our ambition to help solve the global methane emissions challenge.”