Biome Makers closes $4M to assess the quality of the ‘gut bacteria’ of a farm’s soil – TechCrunch

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The agriculture industry faces huge problems of sustainability. The world’s population is increasing, leading to higher food demand, but this then threatens increasing deforestation, pesticide use and some fertilizers that are responsible for greenhouse emissions. Farming can also be a source of carbon sequestration, but how to preserve that? Plus, land quality is being decreased due to over-farming. All this while agriculture has been an underserved industry in terms of technology development compared to others.

So it’s the right time to look at the importance of the “microbiome” in agriculture processes to understand what’s really happening in our crops. The microbiome comprises all of the genetic material within a microbiota (the entire collection of microorganisms in a specific niche, such as in farming). It’s like looking at your gut bacteria, but for a farm.

Soil contains millions of microbes that all play a crucial role in the health of the crop, and this is why microbes in the soil are an important “biomarker.” Thus, understanding the microbes in the soil can lead to important actionable data.

Today Biome Makers, a technology company that uses advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence to analyze a soil’s ecosystem and provide actionable data-driven insights to farmers, has closed a $4 million financing round led by Seaya Ventures and JME Ventures, with participation by London VC LocalGlobe. The financing will be used to keep expanding the company’s footprint across different geographies (U.S., Europe, LatAm) and crop types, as well as an assessment system for agricultural products.

The company was founded by Adrián Ferrero (CEO) and Alberto Acedo (CSO), who have previously co-founded a successful startup in digital healthcare and have a strong scientific background. This is the second financing round for the company, as it has previously raised $2 million from a group of international investors, including Illumina, the global leading manufacturer of DNA sequencing instruments, through the Illumina Accelerator, and Viking Global Investors, a leading U.S.-based investment management firm.

Although other companies such as Indigo Ag, Concentric, Pivot Bio or Marrone Bio Innovations use similar techniques for biome identification, they claim to be the only company providing an open digital service and portal aimed at farmers, in order to democratize the microbiological information that will help them make informed decisions about their agricultural practices.

Biome Makers takes a different approach and looks below the surface. Currently, there are many companies that carry out physical-chemical analysis of the soil, but until now the microbiome dimension has not been taken into account. They say it is a new way of looking at the soil that provides information that had not been taken into account when making decisions in the field.



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