Australian carbon farming biotechnology start-up Loam Bio has closed a A$105 million ($72.6 million; €67.8 million) Series B funding round, securing commitments from several institutional investors and fund managers.
The Series B was co-led by US-based Lowercarbon Capital and Sydney-based climate investment specialist Wollemi Capital, with participation from Horizons Ventures, Acre Venture Partners, Main Sequence, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Grok Ventures and others.
The CEFC said it had invested A$9 million into the Series B to take its total commitment to Loam Bio to A$15 million, making the commitment through its Clean Energy Innovation Fund. It is the organization’s first investment in bio-sequestration as it has expanded its focus on agriculture and agtech in recent years, with commitments to farmland equity funds and agtech-focused venture capital funds such as the inaugural vehicle raised by Tenacious Ventures.
The Series B round takes Loam Bio’s total funding to A$150 million.
Loam Bio uses microbes to sequester carbon in soil through a microbial seed coating that it has developed. The firm says its technology works at the root system of crops to enhance a plant’s natural ability to store carbon stably in soil.
The firm is also now launching its CarbonBuilder technology alongside a carbon farming program called SecondCrop, which aims to increase transparency of sequestration and maximize the benefits of increasing soil carbon to farming enterprises.
Wollemi Capital co-founder Paul Hunyor said: “Soil carbon capture is both a climate imperative as well as a huge financial opportunity for both farmers and investors. [We are] excited to support Loam’s pioneering work.”
Loam Bio co-founder and CEO Guy Hudson said his firm’s technology allowed greater volumes of carbon to be stored in soils for longer periods of time.
“Increasing the quantity and quality of carbon units farmers can produce per hectare makes participating in carbon projects more economically valuable for farming enterprises,” he said.
“Following many years of product research and development, we’re now focused on getting our products out on farm. This year we’re moving from pre-commercial to commercial and launching our products in Australia, working with a limited number of farmers to help them gain value from our products and services in Australia.
“We’re moving towards commercialization in the US, which will come in 2024, followed by our expansion into Brazil to help farmers globally access value from carbon markets.”