Bits x Bites, a China-based agrifood tech venture capital fund, announced today that is has closed $30 million of a new $70 million fund.
Bits x Bites first launched in 2016 as a venture capital firm and accelerator focused on ag and food tech in China. The company has invested in a variety of future food themes ranging from cell-based meat (Future Meat) and Food AI (Analytical Flavor Systems) to CRISPR (Tropic Biosciences).
Over the past few years, China has made a concerted effort to foster investment into building out its digital marketplaces, next-gen retail and delivery, but has started to turn more towards fostering upstream agricultural innovation and sustainability. That’s historically been the main focus of Bits x Bites, so it’s not surprising in the year of COVID their new fund is putting an even greater emphasis on investing in companies that can help build a stronger, more self-sustaining foundation in the face of continued threats to the existing food system.
“With African Swine Flu, COVID, and uncertain trade relations, nothing else is more urgent in China today than growing the self-sufficiency and sustainability in food production,” said Matilda Ho, founder and managing director of Bits x Bites, in the announcement.
“Whether it is a discovery platform for novel agri inputs, bio-manufacturing of high-demand functional ingredients, or machine learning for farm automation, these process innovations are vital for raising our food system’s productivity and improving the nutritional and safety performance of our food product.”
The first portfolio investment for the new fund is China-based essential nutrients startup Mojia Bio. According to the release, Mojia Bio uses a “proprietary bio-manufacturing process increases yield and limits by-product and environmental pollution associated with conventional chemical synthesis.”
The limited partners in the new fund include Singapore-based investment bank Temasek, Heritas Capital Management and Henry Soesanto, CEO of Monde Nissin (the company behind Quorn).
The group intends to close the rest of the funding in the coming months.