Manure-to-water startup nets first VC investment
Agriwater, an early-stage startup that turns manure slurry into clean water, raised $333,333 in outside funding, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: Agtech will have to expand beyond soil regeneration and renewables partnerships if young upstarts want to crack into Big Ag, especially those with operations in drought-stricken states out West.
Driving the news: Agriwater raised two-thirds of a planned $500,000 funding round from a single investor, according to its Form D filed Friday.
- Agriwater founder Dr. Bianca Bailey declined to identify the investor or share additional details of the funding round with Axios.
- The startup joined HBCUvc, a nonprofit VC group that backs founders of underrepresented backgrounds, as part of its summer 2021 cohort, according to PitchBook.
- Agriwater completed the iVenture Accelerator from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2020, where it received up to $20,000 to get the business started.
How it works: Agriwater uses electrolysis to purify manure slurry by removing heavy metals and odors, according to its website.
- It monitors pollution levels via smart devices that report water quality directly to farm operators in real-time.
- Agriwater's first pilot program reduced cattle slurry contaminates by 95%, according to its website.
Between the lines: Water is one of the most expensive elements of modern-day agriculture operations, especially in states like California and Arizona, which cut agriculture groups' water allotments during drought periods.
- Finding alternative sources of water using upcycled materials already present on some multi-use farms could ease pricing pressure on agriculture businesses of all sizes.
- It has remained less popular than other areas of agtech like soil regeneration, making even small investments meaningful in the long-term health of the industry.