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French champion of agroecology Elicit Plant bags €16M to bud its water-resistance tech

Elicit Plant
Image credits: Elicit Plant

A French agtech company Elicit Plant specialises in crops’ water resistance and develops innovative phytosterol-based solutions. In a recent development, the startup bagged €16 million in a Series A funding round.

€16M funding

The investment round was led by Sofinnova Partners with the support of ECBF, Bpifrance, and existing investors Aquiti Gestion-NACO fund and Credit-Agricole Charente Perigord Expansion, the rest of the funding came from a banking pool and public programs from Region Nouvelle Aquitaine and Bpifrance.

Elicit Plant will use the funds to accelerate the commercialisation of its products in France and several key markets throughout Europe, North America, and South America. Also, they will serve to consolidate the scientific platform, expand laboratories, and diversify the portfolio of products to address additional types of crops.

Jean-François Dechant, President and co-founder of Elicit Plant, said: “The support of top tier global investors such as Sofinnova Partners and ECBF is strong validation of the quality of our technology platform and of the fantastic potential of our solution. We are ideally positioned to accelerate our growth, bring farmers a market-breaking solution allowing them to better respond to climate change challenges, and become in the next five years a sustainability transition world champion in agriculture.”

Michaël Krel, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, added: “Elicit Plant brings together three components at the heart of a successful AGtech company with a strong environmental impact: a disruptive scientific approach, extensive field expertise, and a solid entrepreneurial experience. We are delighted to partner with such a talented, visionary, and ambitious team, developing products with such promising impact.”

Michael Brandkamp, Managing Partner and co-founder of ECBF, added: “Elicit Plant addresses water stress, a major and still unmet need for farmers looking for solutions to tackle climate challenges. Its unique proprietary unlocks the potential of a class of natural molecules. Building on its solid scientific and technological foundation, Elicit Plant is poised to conquer large international markets.”

Uses breakthrough technology

Elicit Plant deploys a breakthrough technology, which prevents water stress, promises farmers a yield gain of up to 20% in corn and soybean crops. The French champion of agroecology was founded in 2017 by Olivier Goulay and Jean-Francois Dechant.

The agro-biotech company debuted with the ambition to become a sustainability transition champion in agriculture and respond to the global challenges of water stress in crops.

Thirty employees across its headquarters in Charente (France) and its precision farm and its Brazilian branch in Sao Paulo. Elicit Plant’s proprietary technology is delivered through foliar application of phytosterols, a molecule found in plants that reduce water consumption by plants.

Elicit Plant operates laboratories and open-field trials in partnership with a network of renowned French and international Labs and farmers.

BEST-A products: All you need to know

In April 2021, Elicit Plant obtained market approval from French regulatory authorities and launched the commercialisation of its first BEST-a products addressing corn and soybean crops. It has developed an innovative biostimulant using phytosterol, a molecule found in plants. The solution naturally boosts plants metabolism, reducing their need for water and allowing for a better resistance to water stress.

BEST-A is an innovative and revolutionary product improves the physiological resilience of soybeans by stimulating their metabolism. This means that the plant is more likely to reach its potential even during periods of water stress or biotic stress. Once inside the plant, the phytosterols bring about reduced evapotranspiration. They also stimulate root development so that the plant can draw additional water resources.

BEST-A is different from ordinary biostimulants because it was developed through a scientific approach solidly supported by independent technical trials. Under drought conditions, this level of performance helps protect yields by reducing the impact of a dry period, and for an irrigated system, it optimises water use and reduces watering frequency.

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