Sound Agriculture, a leading agtech company improving how we farm and what we eat, announced a $75 million Series D equity investment, led by new investors BMO Impact Investment Fund and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, along with FootPrint Coalition and returning investors Leaps by Bayer, Syngenta Group Ventures, S2G Ventures, Fall Line Capital, Cavallo Ventures and Northpond Ventures. Since its founding in 2013, the company has raised a total of $155 million to develop nature-based solutions for sustainable food production, replacing up to 30% of climate damaging synthetic fertilizer and breeding tastier, healthier and more sustainable crops.
The new funding will be used to expand Sound's Nutrient Efficiency and On-Demand Breeding business lines.
Sound's Nutrient Efficiency business includes its flagship product, SOURCE® that activates the soil microbiome via a biochemistry foliar spray. SOURCE signals to microbes that already exist in the soil to increase nitrogen fixation and phosphorus solubilization, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizer in corn by up to 50 lbs per acre while maintaining or improving yields.
Sound's On-Demand Breeding business uses epigenetics to breed novel plant traits 10x faster than traditional methods at a fraction of the cost, and without changing the plant's DNA. Since 2020, Sound has signed partnerships with over a dozen leading food and agriculture companies to improve flavor, reduce spoilage, increase yield and enhance nutrition in a variety of crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, potatoes, yellow peas and tomatoes.
"Our food system needs to change and it needs to happen quickly," said Adam Litle, CEO, Sound Agriculture. "We're committed to fighting a trifecta of issues that include food insecurity, environmental damage and poor health—all of which are addressable with the right technology and practices. We will use this investment to advance our research platforms, grow sales and marketing in the U.S. and abroad, and sign new partnerships to support better methods of farming and food system resiliency."
SOURCE has seen rapid adoption since its launch in 2020, with 4.3x growth in 2022 and use on more than one million U.S. acres. In the process, SOURCE was used to either replace nitrogen fertilizer without impacting yield, or increase yields on farms with efficient nitrogen fertilizer practices.
"The Sound management team has delivered rapid growth of their high-margin nutrient efficiency business and developed an innovative on-demand breeding platform that creates a step change in how plant traits are bred. The team's depth and success across these two business lines will impact the full breadth of the food system; from production to consumption," said Marc Khouzami, Managing Director, BMO Impact Investment Fund. "The BMO Impact Investment Fund is thrilled to be partnering with the team to help drive the next phase of the company's growth and the development of new solutions to increase sustainability in agriculture."
In 2023, SOURCE is being launched for use on wheat, cotton, alfalfa, hay and canola, in addition to corn and soybeans, and will be expanding internationally. By 2030, Sound is targeting the reduction of more than 100 megatons of CO2
equivalent and the avoidance of 4 billion pounds of nitrates from waterways as SOURCE scales.