Benson Hill raises $150 million in series D funding round to accelerate the pace of food innovation on a global scale
Oct. 30, 2020
- Financing was co-led by Wheatsheaf and GV with broad participation from strategic and environmental, social and governance (ESG) focused investors across the food and agriculture value chain.
- Benson Hill will use the funds to scale its commercial operations and its platform food innovation engine CropOS™ across multiple food and ingredients markets.
Benson Hill has announced the close of a $150 million Series D funding round led by Wheatsheaf Group and GV (formerly Google Ventures). The company's leading food innovation engine CropOS™ taps nature's genetic diversity to develop and commercialize healthier and more sustainable food and ingredient options that benefit farmers, food companies of all kinds, and ultimately, consumers. This funding round will accelerate the food tech company's efforts to deploy its platform technology, expand partner development across the supply chain, and scale product commercialization efforts.
The funding round attracted diverse investors recognizing the company's strategic business model and potential to impact the health and well-being of people and the planet through advances in the food system. 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 additional strategic and family office investors.
Benson Hill leverages Cloud Biology®, a discipline combining the power of data science, machine learning and AI techniques with plant biology and genomics. CropOS™ is the platform that makes this discipline actionable, significantly accelerating the precision and speed of product development. Benson Hill's technology platform and collaborations empower the creation of healthier and more sustainable feed, food and ingredient options that consumers are seeking, while also delivering strong crop performance that farmers demand.
"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," said Stephan Dolezalek, Executive Director at Wheatsheaf Group. "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."
"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," said Max Clegg, Head of Louis Dreyfus Company's corporate venture capital program, LDC Innovations. "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."
"The plant-based protein movement is global in scale," said Hewie Kang, CEO of Emart, Shinsegae Group. "Benson Hill's product innovations, particularly in the area of protein and nutrient density, are poised to help further accelerate the adoption of plant-based alternatives. Our investment reflects a strategic intent to help realize the vision of delivering a steady stream of more sustainable and healthy food options to a global consumer."
With this new round of funding, Benson Hill will continue to advance Cloud Biology® and its innovation engine CropOS™, amplify partner development efforts, continue to recruit top talent, and propel the commercial launch of the first Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties in 2021, among other product launches. The company's portfolio of high-quality soybean varieties delivers a full range of in-demand premium attributes, including better digestibility, heart-healthy omega fatty acids, and higher protein that serve the plant-based food, healthy oils, animal feed and aquaculture markets.
"As a society, we're at a crossroads made more evident as the pandemic has revealed strengths and vulnerabilities in our food system," said Matt Crisp, Benson Hill CEO. "Food choices that create enjoyment, make us stronger, and help preserve our environment need to be accessible to everyone, and the power of plant diversity and technology innovation can help fuel that evolution. We're grateful for the growing coalition of investors, stakeholders, farmers and partners who recognize the urgency and opportunity of this moment to think collaboratively and modernize food production."
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