Canadian agriculture biotech company Inocucor Technologies is raising $15 million in Series B equity capital to expand its bio-stimulation and bio-protection agricultural liquid solutions business.
Existing investors Cycle Capital Management, a Canadian cleantech venture capital firm and Desjardins Innovatech, the VC arm of the Canadian financial group, will participate in the round, Don Marvin, president and chief executive of Inocucor, told Agri Investor. Marvin said Inocucor has also received a high level of interest from other venture capital firms and some strategic investors.
This “major equity financing” is expected to close in late summer or early autumn, “but it could happen sooner”, said Marvin.
Cycle Capital and Desjardins Innovatech provided interim funding in February this year after Cycle Capital first led investment into Inocucor in late 2013 alongside Desjardins Innovatech.
Marvin said in a statement in February that the interim funding would set the stage for this later round aimed at accelerating the company’s commercialisation of its second-generation cell-free bio-stimulation product .
Founded in 2007 by two Canadian scientists, Margaret Bywater-Ekegärd and Ananda Lynn Fitzsimmons, Inocucor creates biological soil and plant accelerators for agriculture. Its first product is a solution made up of live, fermented yeasts and bacteria called Garden Solution. Applied to the soil this solution interacts with the local phyto-microbiome — the seeds, plants, root systems and the soil surrounding them – to improve plant and soil quality, according to the website. “It acts as a natural growth optimiser and helps plants survive extreme weather conditions, such as drought,” reads the website.
The funding will be used to scale up production of Garden Solution and accelerate development of its second- and third-generation products for bio-stimulation and bio-protection.” Marvin said South America is a potential market three or four years from now. Inocucor has received lots of interest from Europe and Asia, but going into these two markets will be a long shot.
“We are in an exciting space right now. The company has been perfecting its technology over the past five years, and we have attracted a very interesting board of directors,” Marvin told Agri Investor. James Blome, the president and chief executive for Bayer CropScience, is an independent non-executive chairman on the board and retiring vice president of Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems, Ted Crosbie, is an independent board member.
Amid the fundraising process, Inocucor recently announced three new hires. Sustainable agriculture professional Patricia Tripp is joining as the company’s regional sales manager for Virginia and North Carolina. Ramesh Murugesan, who previously worked as a manufacturing executive with National Biscuit Industries in Oman and asset manager for ITC’s foods division in India, joins the production staff. Jim Samaha joins as finance manager. He formerly held a finance management position with 5N Plus, a Canadian producer of metals and compounds for electronic applications, in Quebec.