Singapore's EDBI To Help US Agritech Startup Inari Enter Asia

Asia, where a vast portion of land is agricultural, is a prime spot for agritech companies to explore to produce the next super food or possible plant-based meat. And Singapore-based premier Asian investor EDBI acknowledges that fact.

EDBI, which invests in innovation-intensive and knowledge sectors around the world, announced that it will help US agritech firm Inari capture the vast opportunities in Asia by investing in the company's $89 million Series C financing.

The Singapore-headquartered investor joined a number of investors, including Acre Venture Partners and Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), in the Series C funding round that Inari said will be used to further enhanced its technology.

The fresh capital will also be utilised to fast-track the commercialisation of Inari’s high-performance soybean and corn seeds in its main market, the US.

Founded in 2016, Inari has developed a proprietary computational and genetic toolbox that helps plant scientists in identifying and developing knowledge of the potential of seeds before they are even planted. This ensures that the field performance of seeds is achieved.

Inari CEO Ponsi Trivisvavett said the company’s technologies do not only meet the needs of the growers but also address environmental concerns. He said the startup has the ability to provide ways to increase yields by enhancing nature’s genetic diversity, which often results in the reduction of agriculture’s impact on the land and climate.

Inari seeks to disrupt the global seed industry, which has seen stagnating innovation over the years. As industry players consolidate, growers now have limited choices, according to Flagship Pioneering executive partner Robert Berendes, Ph. D.

The startup sees this development as a “ripe for disruption” from a viewpoint of technology and business.

In Asia, majority of the population rely on agriculture and yet not many startups are focused on disrupting the traditional agricultural sector. Israel and the US have already moved forward by introducing lab-produced meat, hybrid agricultural products, and plant-based burgers that look and taste like the traditional burgers.

In joining Inari’s Series C funding round, EDBI hopes Singapore and Asia will soon yield high-productivity crops. EDBI CEO and president Chu Swee Yeok said the US agritech startup captured his interest because of the company’s potential to disrupt and revolutionize agriculture.

The company’s “cutting-edge technology” in editing seed’s genes has huge potential to transform a variety of common crops into high-productivity crops and Chu said EDBI wants to bring Inari to Asia to help the company capture opportunities in the region.

Inari is headquartered in Massachusetts and operates sites in Indiana, and Belgium. The startup was a recipient of the 2019 Technology Pioneer award given by the prestigious World Economic Forum.

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