Danish start-up raises US$6.7 million to speed development of microbes for fertiliser

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Bioomix
Image: Bioomix

Related tags microbes soil health fertilizer

Danish agtech company Bioomix has raised US$6.7 million in an investment round led by Westhill Capital alongside existing investors Pre Seed Ventures and Planetary Impact Ventures.

Bioomix is based on research from the University of Southern Denmark and Aarhus University, where the two founders, Morten Østergaard Andersen and Julia Østergaard Andersen, came up with the idea of using 3D bioprinting initially developed for biomedical purposes to harness the power of naturally occurring microbes that could replace the use of harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. 

The non-GMO products, which are suitable for organic applications, contain naturally occurring microorganisms that are grown on organic plant-based waste feedstock.

Through BioInnovation Institute’s Venture Lab programme, the company received its first financial support of €500,000, and the idea developed into the microbeTRAP technology that uses a biomaterial-induced natural selection process to find high-performing microbes from the environment. The company claims this new method is inexpensive, fast, efficient, and a radical break from finding microbes by library screening, which is what most microbial industries do.

Problems that the technology addresses

In 2021, 200 hundred million tonnes of synthetic fertiliser, four million tonnes of pesticides and 37% of global climate gas emissions are related to agriculture and food production on an annual basis, the company estimates. Bioomix claims it offers a sustainable and inexpensive alternative that can support farmers in the green transition.

Bioomix said the funding round clearly demonstrates the startup’s great position as many existing investors decided to make a strong follow-on investment. 

Deep Tech Fund Director Anders Kjær from Danish PreSeed Ventures said Bioomix’s desire to change as a key reason behind its investment. “In our upcoming Deep Tech Fund, we have made an unwavering commitment to only support technology and products that are right for the world and for the end customer. Bioomix is a driving force within this field as they work towards eliminating pesticides, antibiotics, and synthetic fertilisers from agriculture,”​ he said.

Planetary Impact Ventures has also made a follow-on investment. When diving into the needs of the world the finds great reason to continue their support of Bioomix.

“There is an urgent need to foster living soils, reduce the need for fertiliser, adapt to changing climate, and decrease leaching of nitrogen to rivers,”​ said Managing Partner Thomas Høgenhaven. “We need to foster new solutions that are respectful and humble to soil diversity. Solutions that can help more farmers transition to regenerative farming practices. We see Bioomix as a shining light finding and growing local microbes to help solving some of our times biggest problems.”

David Hollidge, the founding partner of West Hill Capital, which have also invested repeatedly as a private investor explained why he invested. “I am delighted to have invested in Bioomix, one of the most globally impactful companies I have seen and that has the potential to dramatically improve global food supply with its breakthrough technology facilitating significantly higher, healthier and more profitable crop yields for farmers.”

Bioomix said the capital will be spent with the aim to reach key milestones: the commercial team will be expanded to support more farmers and seed companies. The company has an ambitious goal for achieving impact and this entails that its products are used on an increasing farm area. The aim is to reduce fertiliser and pesticide use and carbon emissions while at the same time providing farmers with increased economic profit.

Bioomix will also develop new microbial products for biological carbon capture, nitrogen fixation and fungal disease control. The company plans to launch several of these in the next two years to support green transition in the farming sector.

The capital will also be used to increase production capacity to meet the rising demand for products. The company will also expand internationally to provide its products to more farms around the world.

“With this infusion of capital, we can accelerate development and manufacturing of innovative microbial solutions for farmers, promoting sustainable, productive, and profitable food production,”​ said CEO and co-founder Morten Andersen. “Our vision remains — to support farmers, make agriculture more sustainable, reduce its environmental impact, combat deforestation, and address the global food security challenges. This investment propels us closer to achieving that mission. A mission more critical than ever."

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