Jul. 11, 2017
NewLeaf Symbiotics announced the close of a $24MM series C financing round, accelerating plans to convert proven applications of its biotechnology into products for large-scale agriculture. The company's commitment to tapping the advantages of Methylotrophic bacteria has positioned it as a leader in agricultural biologicals. Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV) and Otter Capital jointly led the round. Lewis & Clark Ventures participated in the financing, as did Rockport Capital, Pangaea Ventures, Open Prairie Ventures, and other investors.
NewLeaf will use the invested capital to commercialize seed treatment and in-furrow products for soybeans, corn, wheat, peanuts, and other crops. The company is tripling the size of its R&D and pilot production facility in St. Louis and is expanding its proprietary Prescriptive Biologics Knowledgebase bioinformatics platform.
"The application of these bacteria in agriculture has tremendous potential to enhance yields and improve plant health," said MGV Venture Principal Ryan Rakestraw. "We are excited to partner with NewLeaf to support the advancement of this differentiated technology."
Otter Capital founder John Pasquesi commented, "When Otter led the series B financing round we invested in a very strong team, broad IP, and great field data. The company has made rapid progress and has a deep product pipeline. In our judgment NewLeaf has developed a sustainable technology with immense upside, and the team that has only gotten stronger."
NewLeaf CEO Tom Laurita added, "Agriculture is undergoing deep technological and structural change. This investment affirms the importance of biologicals and validates NewLeaf's strategy in this emerging space. Industry consolidation is reshuffling the major players and we are working closely with several of the most forward-looking companies to integrate our products and technology into their product platforms. We are grateful to our current and new investors for their support."
NewLeaf was established in 2013 in the Bio Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center. "Bill Danforth's vision for the Center was to make St. Louis the world leader in plant science research and innovation," said John McDonnell, chairman of the Danforth Center board of directors. "By assembling a world class team and commercializing new agricultural technologies, NewLeaf Symbiotics has become an example of the realization of Dr. Danforth's vision."