Canadian microbial crop inputs start-up raises $6m

investors include a family office and co-operative financial group Desjardins Innovatech.

Canadian microbial crop inputs start-up Inocucor Technologies has raised $6 million in an extended Series A financing round.

Investors include US family office Red Metal Capital, cleantech venture capital fund Cycle Capital Management, the $200 billion co-operative financial group Desjardins Innovatech, agri and food-focused firm Closed Loop Capital, and its board members.

The company did not disclose how much it raised in the first stage of financing last year.

The Montreal start-up will use the financing to commercialise a bio-stimulant it makes in a yeast and bacteria fermentation process. The start-up has said it will follow this round with a further raise later in June, geared towards opening a US office.

The product, Garden Solution, is meant to improve yields through encouraging microbial diversity in soils and speeding up delivery of nutrients to plants.

It has been approved for use on organic farms and the company said field trials showed it improved yields in soyabeans and strawberries by 8 and 30 percent respectively.

Inocucor Technologies could also use the financing make strategic acquisitions geared towards speeding up commercialisation of its bio-stimulant.

Cycle Capital targets companies it considers to hold key intellectual properties and has $230 million in assets under management. Portfolio companies include biofuels-manufacturer Enerkem, rooftop-greenhouse farming business Lufa, and Agrisoma, a company producing carinata seeds for livestock-feed and biofuel production.

Desjardins Innovatech is managed by the venture capital fund management arm of the Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, one of the largest credit and bank institutions in Canada.

Red Metal Capital manages the Dorman family’s interests, which are mainly in mining, metals, minerals and agriculture.

Chemical and agri input companies are increasingly looking to biological start-ups in order to diversify their product base to attract more environmentally- sustainable, organic or non-GMO agricultural clients.

Inocucor president and chief executive, Donald Marvin previously told Agri Investor:  “Major ag biotech companies are looking for alternative sustainable solutions for the product portfolio,” adding that the company’s market mainly consisted of organic and greenhouse growers, and conventional farmers for high-value produce such as kale, tomatoes or broccoli.

He said that following its expansion in the US, the company would also seek to move into Latin America.