Tupu, headquartered in Berlin, an agtech firm aiming to revolutionize the mushroom farming industry with its decentralized farming system, has declared the successful closure of a $3.2M (around €3M) in a Seed funding round.
The funding round was jointly led by FoodLabs and Zubi Capital, joined by Clear Current Capital, FoodHack, IT-Farm, Coast Cap, and prominent business angels in the food and tech sectors, such as Roger Hassan and Gil Horsky.
Till Hoelzer, Principal at FoodLabs, highlights, “Controlled environment farming stands as a crucial technology for enhancing the climate resilience of our food supply chain. We are enthusiastic about Tupu, given their capacity to render indoor farming economically feasible.”
Hoelzer further expresses, “As early supporters of the company, we are exceedingly pleased with their recent funding achievement and anticipate their promising trajectory moving forward.”
Tupu intends to utilize the raised capital to expand production, catering to prominent entities in the food service and retail industries. Additionally, the company aims to optimize space usage and enhance its automation technology.
Eldad Arnon, the co-founder and CEO of Tupu, expresses gratitude towards the forward-thinking investors who align with the company’s belief in the potential of mushrooms to tackle the urgent challenges of global food insecurity amidst the climate crisis.
Arnon envisions a future where food is cultivated at the point of consumption, making fresh organic produce accessible to all.
Nourishing the Future: Embracing Alternative Farming Practices for Next-Gen Food Production
Established in 2021 by Eldad Arnon and Daniel Lock, Tupu seeks to revolutionize the mushroom industry. Its technology features a pioneering gourmet mushroom harvesting robot, advanced AI incorporating camera vision, and the integration of IoT data across their farms.
This digital transformation and automation address agricultural challenges, ranging from labor shortages to enhancing yields and spatial efficiency.
Tupu employs a patented modular farming system, along with bioscience, robotics, and AI, to cultivate organic gourmet mushrooms directly within urban areas. The company’s approach presents consumers with sustainable, freshly harvested products at competitive prices.
Since inaugurating their initial farm in November 2022, Tupu has provided over three tons of mushrooms monthly to diverse customers, including local wholesalers and Michelin-starred chefs.
Daniel Lock comments, “While the vertical farming industry, especially for leafy greens and other energy-intensive crops, has been challenging lately, urban farming will be instrumental in shaping our future food system.”
“Unlike plants, mushrooms have historically been cultivated indoors but in an inefficient manner. With our technology, we’re propelling the industry’s current state forward by 50 years. The potential of mushrooms spans across multiple sectors – food is merely the beginning,” Lock adds.
Tupu’s Influence in the Culinary Realm
As stated by Tupu, mushrooms offer a wealth of nutrients, are environmentally friendly, and can be cultivated indoors year-round, minimizing supply chain disruptions. They provide essential vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and protein while imposing minimal environmental impact.
In comparison to other food sources, mushrooms demonstrate superior CO2 emissions, water usage efficiency, and land utilization, even outperforming vegetables.
However, the current lengthy farm-to-table journey spanning up to 7000 km results in compromised taste, reduced shelf life, diminished nutrients, and a significant carbon footprint, underscoring the urgency for more sustainable approaches.
Simultaneously, the surge in demand for organic, sustainable, and locally-sourced products is driven by health-consciousness and the rising popularity of veganism.
Prominent chefs in Berlin, such as Sebastian Frank from the Michelin-starred Horváth, utilize Tupu’s mushrooms in crafting innovative vegan dishes, highlighting the company’s influence on the culinary landscape.
Overview of Key Investors
FoodLabs, a Berlin-based early-stage VC investor and venture studio, specializes in supporting startups in the realms of food, sustainability, and health. Committed to fostering innovation within the food industry through entrepreneurship, FoodLabs has provided backing to more than 50 early-stage foodtech companies since 2016.
The company focuses on supporting purpose-driven entrepreneurs striving to revolutionize the food industry and has been an initial investor in notable European foodtech startups such as Meatable, Klim, Mushlabs, and Formo.
Zubi Capital, founded in 2020 as part of Zubi Group, operates as a Spanish impact asset and wealth management firm. Their approach involves offering financially competitive investment solutions while maintaining a focus on social, environmental, and economic impact.