Agriculture tech start-up Indigo raises $100 million

Massachusetts-based agriculture technology start-up Indigo has raised $100 million in a Series C round of investment led by Alaska Permanent Fund, a $54.3 billion investment firm owned and managed by the state-owned corporation – the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

Flagship Ventures, Altitude Life Science Ventures and members of the management and board also participated in the fundraising, according to Indigo website.

The total capital of the company has reached over $150 million with the fresh round of fundraising, Reuters reported. The food production company will use the fund in developing crops that would hold out against water shortages.

The capital will also be used to expand ongoing research, development efforts and the team of Indigo. Alaska Permanent Fund has plans to invest another $100 million in the company in future.

Indigo re-organises the structure of a farm crop by adding microbes to it, making it more immune to insects, drought, severe weather and nutrient-poor soil, the company said.

“The microbes found inside plants work together in harmony with the host to fight diseases, increase nutrient intake and improve water use efficiency,” the website describes.

The company has arranged the genome of over 40,000 microbes and has identified some microbes capable of withstanding the changing climate, Chief Executive Officer David Perry told Reuters.

The company aims at increasing the incomes of the farmers by improving the structures of the seeds. It has already sown cotton seeds on more than 50,000 acres of land, mainly in western Texas.

“Ultimately we will judge our success on the yields at harvest. Trials have shown a 10 percent greater yield of cotton when water was scarce,” Perry said.

Indigo has also restructured wheat seeds, which will be planted in fall this year by farmers on more than 20 million acres of land in Oklahoma, Kansas Colorado, and other states facing water scarcity.

Soy and corn are other crops they want to work on. “They are also big economic opportunities,” Perry said.

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