Investors Back Platform Transforming Innovation in Food/Ag Value Chain
ST. LOUIS, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 28, 2017–
Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company that uses cloud biology to drive crop performance improvements, today announced the close of a Series B funding round at $25 million. The funding will be used to further advance CropOS™, Benson Hill’s computational platform driven by data and machine learning, and to develop a portfolio of promising product candidates to increase crop yield without requiring additional inputs. CropOS empowers companies of all sizes to unlock the global genetic potential of plants to improve the sustainability of food, feed, fiber and fuel production.
“With this round of financing, our investor base is joined by a capable and strategically minded group of organizations that recognize the immense challenges and opportunities facing the food and agricultural industry,” said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill Biosystems. “We need a new model of innovation that can accelerate crop improvement to meet our global food and energy needs, and we look forward to working with our stakeholders to ensure that Benson Hill delivers on our purpose, creating real change that benefits our industry and society.”
This funding round was co-led by Lewis & Clark Ventures and Prelude Ventures, with other new investors including Fall Line Capital and S2G Ventures. Existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, Cultivation Capital, iSelect Fund, Mercury Fund, Middleland Capital, Missouri Technology Corporation, Prolog Ventures and TechAccel also participated. As part of the financing, David Russell of Lewis & Clark Ventures and Mark Cupta of Prelude Ventures will join the Benson Hill board of directors.
Benson Hill leverages cloud biology, an intersection of cloud computing, big data analytics and plant biology to empower companies of all sizes to improve the genetics of any crop for a fraction of the time and cost traditionally required. CropOS is a cognitive engine that uses machine learning to continuously advance, enabling researchers to better predict which seeds will produce a desired trait. The platform outputs can be deployed in crop plants by using a spectrum of approaches and tools, from breeding to genome editing to transgenics.
Benson Hill’s first application of CropOS successfully identified traits to increase crop yields by improving photosynthesis, one of the most fundamental and complex plant systems. In corn hybrids, trait product candidates identified by CropOS have demonstrated significant crop yield increases in diverse environmental conditions.
“Benson Hill continues to exceed expectations in advancing agriculture through technology,” said David Russell of Lewis & Clark Ventures. “In looking to change the industry, Benson Hill delivers not just better products but also a whole new approach to genomic innovation that stands to greatly benefit the world’s agricultural food supply.”
Founded in 2012, Benson Hill focuses on empowering a new era of innovation that accelerates crop improvement to benefit society and our planet. For more information, please visit: http://bensonhillbio.com/.
About Benson Hill Biosystems
Benson Hill Biosystems is an agricultural technology company that unlocks the global genetic potential of plants to enhance the sustainability of food, feed, fiber and fuel production. Benson Hill and our partners harness natural and novel genetic variation through breeding, trait development and genome editing to develop products that accelerate crop improvement. More information can be found online at www.bensonhillbio.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BensonHillBio.