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Pivot Bio raises $100 million to transform agriculture economics
Published: Apr 30, 2020 4:45:00 AM
Expands operations to meet demand for technology to replace synthetic fertilizer to reduce nitrogen pollution while increasing farmer revenue
BERKELEY, CA – APRIL 30, 2020 – Pivot Bio announced today the close of its $100 million Series C funding round co-led by return investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures and global investment company Temasek. Seed and Series A lead and Series B investor, DCVC, also materially participated in the round. With this new funding, Pivot Bio will accelerate its plans to scale its first-to-market microbial nitrogen technology that increases crop yields and farmer revenue. The technology will also aid in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and global energy use related to the $65 billion global synthetic nitrogen fertilizer market. Pivot Bio PROVEN™, the company’s inaugural product for corn, consistently delivers more nitrogen into the crop than synthetic nitrogen, translating to an average of 5.8 bushels per acre advantage when compared to fields using only synthetic nitrogen in 2019.
By adopting Pivot Bio’s cleaner nitrogen, agriculture will simultaneously achieve more consistent yields and eliminate one gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (akin to removing 216 million cars off the road). Additionally, water-borne nitrates will be reduced, avoiding an estimated $4.1 billion in U.S. water purification costs and significantly reducing the dead zones in our oceans. These reductions are driven by Pivot Bio helping farmers shrink their use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer by at least 100 million metric tons over the coming decade.
“Growers and our planet deserve a better fertilizer - one that balances on-farm economics with the farmer’s commitment to leave the land better for the next generation, and Pivot Bio’s technology helps them do just that,” said Karsten Temme, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Pivot Bio. “The strong backing by our Series C investors enables Pivot Bio to redefine the future of fertilizer and provide the world’s farmers with a new nitrogen source. Based on remarkable demand, we expect to ramp up from our large current footprint to millions of additional acres in the next growing season.”
Pivot Bio PROVEN™ - in its second year of commercialization - has again sold out and is used on hundreds of thousands of acres of U.S. corn as farmers seek cleaner nitrogen technology that can increase their profitability. Pivot Bio will deploy Series C capital to rapidly expand internationally. Pivot Bio PROVEN™ will soon be available to Argentinian corn farmers, and through IN10T’s FarmerTrials, Pivot Bio will launch Intent to Pivot on-farm corn trials for Canadian growers. Earlier this spring, the company launched its inaugural product for U.S. wheat crops, Pivot Bio RETURN™, through a limited, early-adopter program.
“Pivot Bio’s microbial nitrogen fertilizers are revolutionizing how farmers apply nitrogen to their crops, and we’re excited to continue our investment to support this important mission,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “The company is leading the charge on truly sustainable farming techniques, and we’re confident that they’ll continue to innovate their product offerings to solve this critical climate and societal challenge.”
Manufactured, sold, and distributed to farmers in a radically different model from traditional synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, Pivot Bio’s approach uses significantly less energy than the manufacturing of synthetic fertilizer, eliminates 99.5% of greenhouse gas emissions during its production, and is delivered through regular shipping carriers. This model eliminates the costly infrastructure of factories, pipelines, barges, and storage at brick-and-mortar retail locations. Instead, local trusted agronomic advisors can leverage a simplified mobile app to order and schedule on-demand delivery as they help farmers plan their nutrient management strategy.
“Pivot Bio is addressing one of the most difficult challenges facing agriculture in the 21st century – reducing dependence on damaging synthetic fertilizer while increasing crop yields and creating better outcomes for farmers,” said Matt Ocko, Managing Partner, DCVC. “DCVC led Pivot Bio’s early rounds and remains a major backer because we believe the company will truly transform global agricultural practices. We’re pleased the company continues to bring its microbial nitrogen technology to new crops and new locations, across America and around the world.”
“Farmer acceptance of our technology and support of our vision is far beyond our expectations,” said Temme. “They understand the economics and efficiencies our product offers – more consistent yields, 100 percent nitrogen efficiency with the crop, and a lighter environmental footprint. It’s a triple bottom line for them and our planet.”
Series C is co-led by return Series B investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Temasek and are joined by DCVC who led Pivot Bio’s seed and Series A rounds; Prelude Ventures; Spruce Capital Partners; Codon Capital; Bunge Ventures; Continental Grain Company; Tekfen Ventures; Pavilion Capital; and individual investors Alan Cohen and Roger Underwood. To date, the company has raised $186 million in capital.
About Pivot Bio
At Pivot Bio, we believe in meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Our unparalleled understanding of the crop microbiome will help create a future with cleaner water and air. We are dedicated to providing farmers with solutions, so they can grow high-quality, environmentally-responsible and sustainably focused food crops that help feed families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pivotbio.com and follow @pivotbio on Twitter.
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