Pivot Bio raises US$100m to charge on sustainable farming techniques

USA – California-based agriculture technology startup, Pivot Bio has raised US$100 million to expand operations and meet demand for its technology – which provides an alternative and more sustainable solution to synthetic fertilizer.

The Series C funding round was co-led by return investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures, global investment company, Temasek while its existing investor, DCVC also materially participated in the round.

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With this new funding, Pivot Bio hopes to accelerate its plans to scale its first-to-market microbial nitrogen technology that increases crop yields and farmer revenue.

Pivot Bio believes that the technology will also aid in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and global energy use related to the US$65 billion global synthetic nitrogen fertilizer market.

The company has so far launched its inaugural product for corn, Pivot Bio Proven, which the agtech firm says consistently delivers more nitrogen into the crop than synthetic nitrogen.

According to the company, the solution is able to give an average of 5.8 bushels per acre advantage when compared to fields using only synthetic nitrogen in 2019.

Pivot Bio says that its technology will enable the agriculture industry to simultaneously achieve more consistent yields and eliminate one gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (akin to removing 216 million cars off the road).

Additionally, the solution is touted to reduce water-borne nitrates hence avoiding an estimated US$4.1 billion in water purification costs in the United States alone and significantly reducing the dead zones in the 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.

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“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 Kasten Temme, 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.”

With Pivot Bio Proven being in its second year of commercialization across the Unites States, the company that it will deploy Series C capital to rapidly expand internationally.

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.

It eliminates 99.5% of greenhouse gas emissions during its production, and is delivered through regular shipping carriers hence eliminating the costly infrastructure associated with synthetic fertilizer production.

“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.

The series C funding round brings the total capital raised by Pivot Bio to US$186 million since its inception in 2010.

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