San Francisco-based biotech company Brightseed has developed an artificial intelligence platform to discover phytonutrients hidden in nature
Brightseed website photo

Biotech company Brightseed has closed a $27 million round of growth financing led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood, a St. Louis, Missouri-based venture capital and private equity firm. Brightseed is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to discover phytonutrients hidden in nature. The latest growth round brings the total capital raised to $52 million since Brightseed’s inception three years ago.

The new technology that Brightseed is developing is called Forager, and it’s deemed the world’s first and only AI to map millions of hidden phytonutrients and make new biological connections between plants and human health. 

Brightseed argues that using traditional methods would take 50,000+ years to map the active compounds in the plant kingdom, but with Forager, the process is exponentially faster. Its computational approach allows for searching a continually growing database for compounds and combinations that can be applied to human health. 

“Just as the Hubble telescope provided an unobstructed view of the universe, Forager sees deeply into the plant kingdom and makes new connections between plant and human biology,” Brightseed explains in a statement on the company website.

Brightseed’s technology has already caught the attention of big food companies. In June, Danone North America, the US branch of the French dairy giant, which is focused on plant-based food and drink products, teamed up with Brightseed. The partnership will see Brightseed profile key plant sources for Danone North America to reveal previously unknown health and nutrition benefits.

The multi-phased partnership is said to pioneer a new era of scientific discovery of the health benefits in key plant-based ingredients, beginning with soy. 

Brightseed was founded three years ago and has been reporting steady growth ever since. The company is actively recruiting for two business development roles.

As part of the investment, David Russell, operating partner at Lewis & Clark AgriFood, has joined Brightseed’s board of directors.

Brightseed’s previous funding round totalled $25 million including investments from S2G Ventures, Horizons Ventures, CGC Ventures, Fifty Years, Germin8 and AgFunder.

Date published: 17 September 2020

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