On Monday, Pivot Bio, which has developed “second-generation” nitrogen fertilizer for agriculture, announced that it has successfully closed a $430 million Series D mega-round led by deep-tech venture capital fund DCVC and Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek. The new round brings Pivot Bio’s total equity raised to more than $600 million.
In a statement announcing the round, Pivot Bio said new funds will be used to rapidly scale its U.S. business, expand into key international markets, and support its release of “disruptive products” that will replace the $60 billion of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer sold each year just for corn, wheat and rice production. White synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are available substitutes, Pivot Bio notes that these options are cost-prohibitive for farmers, inefficient, soil-depleting, harmful to water supplies and fisheries, and responsible for seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Pivot Bio seeks to address these liabilities by developing commercially scalable microbial nitrogen. This year alone, Pivot Bio says it has replaced synthetic nitrogen on more than 1 million crop acres, up 300 percent year-over-year. Overall, its “clean nitrogen” has the potential to prevent $200 billion of negative environmental impacts caused by agricultural fertilizer. The company’s business model is based on intellectual property in the form of computational and microbiome technologies and multi-scale automated testing.
In addition to fund co-leaders DCVC and Temasek, investors re-upping their commitments for the round include Generation Investment Management, G2 Venture Partners and Rockefeller Capital Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Continental Grain Company, Prelude Ventures, Pavilion Capital, Bunge Ventures (the corporate venture capital arm of agribusiness giant Bunge, Tekfen Ventures and biotech company Becker Underwood co-founder Roger Underwood.
“Pivot Bio exemplifies the power of DeepTech solutions to create equitable and profitable outcomes for all stakeholders in immense industries like agriculture,” said Matt Ocko, Co-Managing Partner of DCVC. “Farmers are able to grow more crops to feed more people, more cost-effectively, while being even better stewards of their land and water. Societies benefit from both more abundant food and more climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture. Pivot Bio has delivered the kind of win-win-win breakthrough DCVC is honored to back, and on which we are focused as a firm.”
“We are thrilled to be investing in Pivot Bio, given the deep trust they have built among farmers by providing solutions which are both more sustainable and profitable for their customers,” said Lila Preston, Head of Growth Equity at Generation Investment Management. “We look forward to supporting the company as it accelerates its broader climate impacts on a global basis.”
Pivot Bio sells its product through a direct-to-grower model that it says creates mutual trust and economic success for both the farmer and the company. Developed in close consultation with farmers, the company’s nutrient measurement tools, grower engagement programs, and a direct-to-farm supply chain adapt to the dynamic challenges on each farm, and deliver long-term, predictable revenue for both Pivot Bio and its farmer partners. Pivot Bio is the only company in the world to have shipped a synthetic nitrogen fertilizer replacement at scale with performance that meet farmers’ tough requirements and the company expects to retain this position for years to come.
“Pivot Bio is driven to serve farmers by simplifying the challenges of managing nitrogen and ensuring resilient farm productivity. We have built a platform for accelerating nitrogen innovation in the market, and our products are delivering recurring positive outcomes for the growers we serve,” said Pivot Bio co-founder and CEO Karsten Temme, PhD. “We are establishing relationships that will span decades, and aim to provide the sole source of nitrogen needed to power the economic and environmental sustainability of global agriculture for generations to come.”