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Portfolio News and Updates: June 2023 Edition

E. Bader
June 29, 2023

June News and Updates

AI and Climate Tech

The Wall Street Journal featured Amy Francetic, co-founder of Buoyant Ventures, in a recent article, “Why AI Is the Next Big Bet for Climate Tech.” Francetic founded Buoyant Ventures, an $81 million venture capital fund, in 2020 after a health scare led her to focus on work with a meaningful impact. 

In the article, Francetic offers a glimpse of her journey from developing software for Hasbro to working with Stanford University on fuel cells and founding the Clean Energy Trust tech accelerator to building Buoyant. Francetic also provides insight into the role of artificial intelligence in the projects funded by Buoyant.

Buoyant invests in clean energy and companies with measurable climate benefits. About half of Buoyant’s investment companies are using AI to improve efficiency. The companies highlighted in the article include ReelData. ReelData is a sustainable aquaculture company that uses cameras and AI to optimize feed use and harvest timing for fish protein.

Monarch Tractor’s MK-V Named to CNBC “Disruptor 50 List”

For the second year in a row, the MK-V, an autonomous electric tractor from Monarch, made CNBC’s list of private companies in pursuit of their markets’ biggest opportunities.

CNBC recognized Monarch Tractor’s MK-V for its trifecta of technologies: electrification, automation, and data analysis. The MK-V helps farmers reduce their carbon footprint, improve field safety, and streamline operations — all while improving profitability. The esteemed CNBC list reviews technology startups based on rigorous criteria, including scalability, growth, revenue, and diversity.

Monarch’s Co-founder and CEO, Praveen Penmetsa, acknowledged the recognition, stating, "It’s been an incredible year of development for our team, and being named to this esteemed list for the second year in a row is extremely validating of all the work we’ve been doing.”

Learn more about the MK-V and its place on the CNBC Disruptor List.

Events and Milestones

The companies in our investment portfolio are making headlines and headway. Here are a few updates from The Nest Family Office network:

  • Astanor Ventures held its inaugural Impact and Sustainability Summit in Paris. The two-day event brought together all of Astanor’s worldwide portfolio companies. Activities included a field trip to Hectar to dig into “transforming the food system from soil to gut.” View a highlight video from the event, including on-site footage at Hectar.
  • Ynsect raised $175 Million for Food Expansion bringing their total amount raised to about $625 million. The leading company for insect-based protein     recently developed the first genotyping chip for insect breeding. The technology will improve sustainability by optimizing genetic selection for development, requiring less water or fewer inputs.
  • Edacious announced it is hiring with two new positions available for software engineers. It’s exciting to see a growing team for this startup focused on building a technology platform to differentiate food quality.
  • Filming for the documentary Eat More Trees is in progress. The international project covering agroforestry and perennials premieres in Spring 2024. The film will provide an in-depth look at the potential of food forests to save our soil and transform how we produce food. Follow  the film crew’s updates on LinkedIn to see behind-the-scenes glimpses, such as this clip from Brazil featuring Felipe Villela of reNature explaining how agroforestry systems can ensure our morning coffee in a changing climate.

From the Farm

On June 8, Domaine de Graux hosted a farmer event on regenerative agriculture. The Living Soil Academy, represented by Alain Peeters, Vice-President of Agroecology Europe, and Louis De Jaeger, Co-founder of Eat More Trees, led the educational session. Topics covered included crop genetic sand pasture management.

With the growing season well underway, Domaine de Graux has started offering a vegetable basket program as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) initiative. The farm is also welcoming the arrivals of new Angus calves.