Chinese agrifoodtech VC firm Bits x Bites has closed its latest fund on $100 million with a string of food and ag corporates as well as investment players signing up as LPs.
Among those participating in the fund’s final close were Syngenta Group Ventures, the VC arm of Syngenta; animal nutrition company Adisseo; Cavallo Ventures, the VC arm of Wilbur-Ellis; DisruptAD, the venture platform of UAE government-linked investor ADQ; and specialist equipment maker and manufacturing services provider Esco Lifesciences.
Several “reputable financial institutions and family offices” also invested in the final close, according to a statement issued by Bits x Bites; while Singapore sovereign fund Temasek offered “continued support” following its earlier investment in the fund’s $30 million first close.
Other LPs known to have backed the fund include Singaporean firm Heritas Capital Management and Henry Soesanto, CEO of Monde Nissin – the Philippine food company that owns mycoprotein brand Quorn.
Speaking to AFN at the time of the first close, Bits x Bites managing partner Joseph Zhou said the fund was aiming to secure $70 million in committed capital, and would mainly target Chinese startups from seed to Series B stage with ticket sizes of between $1 million and $3 million.
The firm’s vice president Winnie Leung told AFN today that, with the increased fund size, the upper ticket size has adjusted to $5 million.
Since its first close, the fund has backed seven startups – four of them Chinese:
- EAVision (China) – An ag drone maker focused on devleoping crop protection solutions for farms in mountainous regions and other complex terrain. Bits x Bites co-led EAVision’s $30 million Series C round in April with Temasek and Chinese state-backed investor CITIC.
- Enko Chem (US) – A company applying drug discovery techniques to create less harmful farm inputs. It raised $45 million from its Gates Foundation-led Series B round in June 2020.
- Moa (UK) – A herbicide startups spun-out from Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences in 2018. Bits x Bites participated in its £12 million ($16.2 million) Series A round in April alongside BGF.
- Mojia Bio (China) – A ‘biofacturing’ platform producing essential nutrients. It raised a reported $14.9 million in Series A funding from Bits x Bites and Asia Green Fund in late 2020.
- Next Gen Foods (Singapore) – The startup behind TiNDLE, a plant-based chicken meat analog, which closed a record-breaking $30 million seed round in July.
- An undisclosed precision agriculture company from China developing crop simulation models to help farmers optimize input usage and improve yields
- An undisclosed precision fermentation startup from China making microbial protein for meat and dairy analogs.
“The appeal of agrifood investing for the Chinese market goes beyond its mammoth role in the global supply chain or its vibrant tech activities in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and biotech,” said Bits x Bites founder and managing partner Matilda Ho.
“What is often overlooked is this tech ecosystem’s relentless drive toward cost-based innovations, building solutions to fuel efficiency and to make sustainable and healthy ingredient options more affordable. We believe there has never been a better time to be investing in agrifood for China.”