Waste-to-organic fertiliser agtech firm raises $11m

WISErg Corp, a waste management and organic fertiliser producer, has raised $11m in Series B funding in a round led by Second Avenue Partners, an early stage investment firm.

WISErg Corp, a waste management and organic fertiliser producer has raised $11 million in Series B funding in a round led by Second Avenue Partners, an early stage investment firm. Other non-disclosed private investors also contributed to the round.

This latest round of funding brings the total raised in Series B funding by WISErg to $19.6 million after the agtech company raised $7.75 million in 2014, according to a press release.

The agtech company converts food waste that was bound for landfills into an agricultural fertiliser that has been approved for organic farming. Second Avenue Partners’ founding partner has now joined WISErg’s board of directors.

The latest capital raised will be used to scale operations beyond Washington State, where the company is headquartered, to increase fertiliser production capacity, continue agricultural testing across additional crop types, soil tyes, geographies and crop management practices, and towards further efforts on data analytics.

“We have established strong partnerships to begin rapid growth,” said Larry LeSueur, chief executive of WISErg, in a statement. “Both regulators and communities are gaining awareness of the magnitude of the waste problem. WISErg offers a viable solution today. By taking responsibility to solve our waste problem locally, we deliver a repeatable model that results in a positive global impact.”

Chris Creighton, previously the President of Spicers Paper, was appointed the vice president of sales of WISErg. “Using WISErg’s fertilizer, growers are seeing a significant increase in crop yields while at the same time completing the full circle between the grocers and the growers. WISErg’s fertilizer is the solution to a community generated resource that is otherwise wasted,” Creighton said in a statement.

Prior to Series B, the startup raised $3 million in Series A funding, Agri Investor learned.

Besides capturing food waste bound for landfills and using that to create a highly productive fertilizer, WISErg also focuses on using innovative technology to dramatically decrease the amount of food sold in supermarkets that ends up as waste which is estimated to be as high as 40 percent, according to the company’s website.

In 2014, WISErg received a listing from the Organic Materials Review Institute, an authority for independent review of materials approved for use in the production, handling and processing of organic goods. The institute said that the startup’s approach to food scrap conversion honours the standards set by the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Second Avenue currently has 13 active investments in its portfolio. Past investments like Insitu Group, a developer of long-range unmanned aircraft, was acquired by Boeing and FanNation.com, a popular fantasy sports site which was later acquired by Sports Illustrated.