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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation backs Belgian agritech startup Aphea.Bio in €70M round

Aphea.Bio founder
Picture credits: Aphea.Bio

Belgian agritech startup Aphea.Bio has netted €70 million in an oversubscribed Series C funding round. Supported by the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) which backed Biosyntia and Trapview, the financing round was led by Innovation Industries joined by Korys Investments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SFPIM and BNP Paribas Fortis, as well as existing shareholders. 

This strategic investment aims to advance sustainable agriculture practices, reinforcing ECBF’s commitment to the transition to a healthier and more resilient food system. The new funding will support the rapid growth of Aphea.Bio, cementing its position as a frontrunner in biological product development. It allows Aphea.Bio to further advance research and development in biologicals, scale product launches, expand market reach and commercialise product offerings.

Isabel Vercauteren, CEO and co-founder of Aphea.Bio said, “We are excited to have secured Series C Funding, which not only validates our mission to enable sustainable, profitable, and reliable farming, but also propels us toward commercialisation. This investment allows us to broaden our operations and bring our products to market at a larger scale, so we can address urgent agricultural challenges and meet the needs of farmers worldwide, while at the same time ensuring accessibility and affordability for smallholder farmers in low-income countries.”

“ECBF is proud to stand alongside Aphea.Bio as they assert their position as a leading innovator in the agricultural biologics market” said Stéphane Roussel, Partner at ECBF. “The oversubscribed Series C will enable Aphea.Bio to accelerate its mission of revolutionizing agriculture through groundbreaking science-based microbial solutions. This investment not only strengthens our partnership, but also advances our collective efforts of transitioning to a more sustainable agri-food system. We take great pride in backing Aphea.Bio´s experienced and accomplished team as they embark on a new phase of growth towards becoming a global business organization.”

Aims to achieve sustainable agriculture

Aphea.Bio was founded by Isabel Vercauteren and Steven Vandenabeele in 2017 as a spin-off of the VIB (Flemish Institute for Biotechnology) and its partner universities Ghent University and KU Leuven. Aphea.Bio is dedicated to food security and ensuring a safe and healthy food chain. The company aims to provide novel, science-based solutions to build the agriculture of the future: sustainable, reliable, and profitable.

Through its highly efficient R&D platform that can rely on in-house state-the-art laboratories,

greenhouses and a newly established pilot plant facility, Aphea.Bio has been able to build a broad and diverse pipeline of biostimulants and biocontrols, based on naturally occurring micro-organisms.

Growth plans lined up

The funding comes at a time when Aphea.Bio has grown into a diverse and talented team of over 50 scientists and industry specialists, and is further expanding its research facilities, with a new pilot plant set to open later this year. 

In addition to these milestones, Aphea.Bio has also made significant strides in its product portfolio. The recent successful launch of ΛCTIV by Aphea.Bio, a novel biostimulant seed treatment, marked the company’s first entry into the market. 

Looking ahead, Aphea.Bio is also actively preparing the launch of its first maize biostimulant in 2024 and is planning to submit its first biofungicide for regulatory approval in the US and Europe in Q1 and Q3 of next year, respectively. 

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