BioLumic, a Palmerston North, New Zealand — based creator of an ultraviolet (UV) crop yield enhancement system, closed a $5m Series A financing.
The round was led by Finistere Ventures and Radicle Growth acceleration fund, with Rabobank’s recently launched Food & Agri Innovation Fund and existing investors from New Zealand also joining it. In conjunction with the funding, Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures, and Kirk Haney, CEO and managing partner, Radicle Growth will join the BioLumic Board.
The company intends to use the funds to accelerate research and commercialization of its seed-focused technology, expanding into row crop and vegetable seeds in years ahead as well, grow the team in both New Zealand and its new U.S. office in California, and to intensify the global deployment of its UV technologies.
Founded by Dr. Jason Wargent as a spin out of AgTech research from Massey University in New Zealand and led by CEO Warren Bebb, BioLumic has developed technology rooted in research into UV photomorphogenesis, a process whereby a precise UV treatment induces plant root and leaf development and activates its secondary metabolism, and is now translating Wargent’s scientific discoveries into commercial products that innovate crop-growing operations around the world. Its patented technology – initially focused on lettuce, broccoli, strawberry and tomato seedlings – precisely applies UV light treatments that deliver long-term crop benefits—including improved crop consistency, increased yield and disease resistance. Already in commercial use for high-value produce crops around the globe, BioLumic has worked with large-scale produce growers and processors in California and Mexico with yield gains of up to 22 percent, and commercial trials are taking place in Spain and the United Kingdom.