NewLeaf Symbiotics, Inc. (NewLeaf) announced on Monday that it has raised $20 million in a first close of its Series D financing as it broadens and accelerates product commercialization. Koch Agronomic Holdings, Leaps by Bayer, Otter Capital, S2G Ventures and RockPort Capital were participants in the investment round.
NewLeaf, a plant microbiome technology company, has developed a new class of biological products that deliver benefits to growers while reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint. NewLeaf’s products contain proprietary M-trophs, a unique class of microbes, that can increase crop yield, naturally protect against pests and diseases, enhance grain and fruit quality and improve plant nutrition.
As part of the financing plan, the company will continue to enhance its strong R&D and product platforms while commercializing into broad acre row crops – currently corn, soybeans and peanuts. In addition, NewLeaf will continue to work closely with Joyn Bio as it develops its microbial engineering platform around NewLeaf’s beneficial plant colonizing microbes.
“We invested in NewLeaf Symbiotics because we believe biologicals are becoming an increasingly important part of agricultural crop solutions. With Terrasym®, its M-troph based technology for bio- stimulants and bio-control, and its bio-engineering partnership with Joyn, NewLeaf is well positioned to lead the way”, said Ken Wabel, Koch’s representative for NewLeaf.
As the company focuses on advancing commercialization, a streamlined management team has been formed. Co-founder, Steve Kahn will lead the company as CEO and Tom Laurita, co-founder and former CEO, will remain involved with the company as a senior consultant.
“As we move toward the next stage of growth, our efforts are clearly focused on ramping commercialization. We are having success in 2020 with several hundred thousand acres of NewLeaf’s Terrasym® technology moving into farmers’ fields and setting the stage for significant growth in 2021 and beyond. We are also expanding our technology to focus on specialty and vegetable crops in addition to corn, soybeans and peanuts,” said Steve Kahn. “Consumers expect their food to be grown with minimal impact on the environment. NewLeaf gives growers an option that is not only effective, but also sustainable.”
NewLeaf’s unique focus on M-trophs, a class of ubiquitous pink microbes that naturally colonize roots and leaves of all plants, overcome the limitations of current biological inputs by delivering benefits throughout the growing season. M-troph products are commercialized under the brand name of Terrasym®. Crops treated with Terrasym products are healthier, which leads to greater nutrient uptake and increased yield potential.
Recently, NewLeaf’s breakthrough innovations were recognized by The Silicon Review, which has included the company in its list of “50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2019.” The list features companies from a variety of industries including higher education, software and IT, consulting, and healthcare. NewLeaf was one of the few agriculture companies included in the list.