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Exclusive: Seed treatment startup nabs $3.7M in funding

Sep 1, 2022
Illustration of a watering can pouring dollar bills.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Puna Bio, an Argentina-based biotech company, has raised $3.7 million in seed funding.

Why it matters: Agriculture-focused Puna Bio wants to increase drought tolerance and general crop resilience, a growing specialty within ag tech as food producers struggle with water availability.

Details: At One Ventures and Builders VC led the all-equity round. Brazil-based SP Ventures, AirCapital and pre-seed investors IndieBio (SOSV), Glocal and Grid Exponential also participated in the round.

  • At One Ventures received a board seat as part of the deal. Puna Bio declined to disclose its valuation.

How it works: Puna Bio makes a liquid treatment for crop seeds using different strains of bacteria found in drought regions that make the crops better able to withstand changes in heat and water during the early growing stages.

  • Based on research from Puna Bio's founders, the company isolates the bacteria, replicates it, and creates a liquid treatment similar to what many food producers already use to treat crops during the early growing season.
  • In Argentina, Puna Bio sells its soybean treatment directly to farmers, but is exploring distribution partnerships for its U.S. launch due to the concentrated nature of the agriculture market in the U.S.

Quick take: Puna Bio's relatively novel method with existing materials — namely bacteria strains — is a contrarian approach in the high-tech world of agriculture startups using biotech.

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