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Benson Hill lands $150M for AI in foodtech

Benson Hill, a St. Louis-based foodtech company, said Thursday that it’s closed a $150 million Series D funding round led by Wheatsheaf and GV.

The company says it uses data science and machine-learning techniques to optimize for healthier and more sustainable food. The company said the latest funding will be used to deploy its technology, expand partner development and scale product commercialization.

Other new and returning investors included Argonautic Ventures, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Emart, GS Group, Louis Dreyfus Company, iSelect Fund, Fall Line Capital, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, Prolog Ventures, S2G Ventures and other strategic and family office investors.

“As a firm, we are focused on investing in innovation that delivers the right calories and nourishment for a growing global population in a less commodity-driven food system,” Stephan Dolezalek, executive director at Wheatsheaf Group, said in a statement. “We feel the culture and partners propelling Benson Hill forward will have a significant impact on the health and sustainability challenges that burden our current food system in a way that benefits society and our environment.”

According to recent Crunchbase reporting, startups have in recent years increasingly turned their attention to the farm, and investors are following their lead. So far in 2020, investors have sunk $4.1 billion of venture-backed dollars into 413 agriculture technology deals, and over the last five years have made $17.7 billion in investments, according to Crunchbase data.

“We are excited to contribute to the scale-up of Benson Hill’s work to advance a sustainable future of food by realizing the value creation potential of technology-enabled innovation,” Max Clegg, head of Louis Dreyfus Company’s corporate venture capital program, LDC Innovations, said in the funding announcement. “The power of genomics and genetic diversity is largely untapped, and we believe that the company’s technology and collaborative model unlocks efficiencies and new product differentiation for stakeholders across the value chain, from farmers to end-consumers.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman



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