Cornucopia’s Take: The seed industry has become increasingly consolidated as Monsanto and other Biotech players gobble up smaller companies. Rather than try to make target plants immune to pesticides, this new company is working to improve plant health.
Seed startup Indigo said that it closed a $100 million Series C investment, the largest private equity financing in the agriculture technology sector. Indigo first came onto the map in February when it unveiled cotton seeds laced in probiotics that conserve water and help replenish the soil. With more funding, the company plans to expand research and launch its first line of probiotic wheat seeds.
“The microbes covering Indigo Cotton are specifically chosen to help make the plants more resilient to (water) stress,” company CEO David Perry told The Verge. “Indigo plans to develop seed coatings that address issues like low nutrient stress, high salience stress, and threats like insect infestations.”
Their first product focuses on water conservation, The Verge said, “because agricultural water use is such a massive issue.” Approximately 80 percent of U.S. water use is consumed by agriculture, the USDA estimates. To feed a growing population, water use globally is expected to rise 15 percent in agriculture by 2050, predicts the World Bank.