The chief executive of Monde Nissin, the company that owns UK meat alternative Quorn, and Temasek are among the LPs in the fund
By Murielle Gonzalez
Bits x Bites, China’s pioneer foodtech venture capital fund, has raised $30 million in the first close of its new $70 million fund. LPs backing the agrifoodtech fund include Singapore’s Temasek and Heritas Capital Management, and the chief executive of Monde Nissin, the Philippine food company that also owns UK meat replacement company Quorn.
Bits x Bites is managed by general partners Matilda Ho and Joseph Zhou, and its mandate is to invest exclusively in the agrifoodtech sector with a focus on the Chinese market.
By backing early-stage Chinese and international founders, Bits x Bites aims to advance bioscience, data science, and processing technology to tackle challenges along the Chinese food supply chain, from precision agriculture, crop and animal health to protein alternatives and nutrition.
Ho said: “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 products.”
China’s food ecosystem
Ho explained that China has built a vast digital ecosystem with deep e-grocery and food delivery penetration, and these downstream platforms have been driving food and retail investment in China.
She argued that without investment in upstream innovation, China won’t see meaningful improvement in farm production efficiency to sustain the rapidly growing food demand. “And without biotech and ingredient innovation midstream, food products will fall short of consumers’ expectation in nutrition, clean label, taste, value, and transparency,2 said Ho. “These opportunities are what brought Bits x Bites and our LPs together.”
Mojia Bio is the first new portfolio company of the new fund. It is a Chinese bio-industrial company that produces essential nutrients.
Its proprietary biomanufacturing process increases yield and limits by-product and environmental pollution associated with conventional chemical synthesis.
The new fund has also deployed capital in follow-on investments in Bits x Bites’s previous portfolios. They include Tropic Biosciences, a UK CRISPR gene editing company, and InnovoPro, an Israeli chickpea protein concentrate company.
Bits x Bites anticipates a final closing in the coming months.
Date published: 3 November 2020