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Why are climate VCs getting their hands dirty in ‘soil-tech’?

Updated: May 13, 2021

Because agricultural de-carbonization is a hugely necessary and profitable opportunity.

I’m looking forward to speaking to Julia Reichelstein at our June 2nd ‘Electrifying farms, decarbonizing agriculture’ webinar. Julia is [climate] Investor at PIVA Capital, a VC firm backed by Malaysian energy giant Petronas.

I‘m curious in particular about PIVA’s investment in Anuvia Plant Nutrients, which achieves “meaningful and immediate reductions in greenhouse gases in crop production … helping to bring Scope 3 sustainability targets into focus” (to quote its CEO Amy Yoder). Piva joined Anuvia’s $103m Series C round, (co-led by TPG ART and Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund).

The agriculture and food industries are looking urgently at the greenhouse gas emissions across their supply chain (scope 3 being the most difficult to curtail because they result from assets not under your ownership).

How to monetize the carbon-capturing capabilities of soil and how to incentivize farms to adopt climate-friendly soil practices are two crucial and related questions, which we’ll try to answer at the webinar. How to measure and monitor soil will also be discussed.

Having fertilizers such as Anuvia’s that increase agricultural yields as well as retain carbon is a big step in the right direction. Their bio-based, enhanced fertiliser is homogenous, with dual-release nutrition capabilities, contributing to a sustainable future of satisfied soil. Why not better the environment while bettering your profits? Pivot Bio, another soil-tech start-up, is following in the same footsteps. Backed by Tekfen Ventures (the venture unit of US industrial conglomerate Tekfen Holding) and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (the venture unit backed by Bill Gates), Pivot Bio is commercialising a non-synthetic nitrogen fertiliser that eliminates emissions.

Ultimately the data will have to be gathered that proves and measures climate-friendly soil-tech’s performance. If it’s not measured, it doesn’t matter. And soil really does matter in climate change. The big agriculture corporates are determinedly gathering data to measure and reduce their emissions. They will be monitoring soil.

Soil Scout, a wireless soil sensor business from Finland backed by the venture unit of Swedish corporate Husqvarna, is here to help. I’m hoping to persuade its CEO Jalmari Talolo to join us at the webinar.

“Soil Scout aims to give soil experts the insights and data they need to manage their land in the most efficient and effective ways. We strongly believe that some day we live in a world where data drives everyday decision-making and has safeguarded our soils and made them flourish for future generations,” says Jalmari.

Please join me at a Leif Capital webinar - Electrifying Farms, Decarbonizing Agriculture - on Wednesday June 2nd at 10:00 Eastern / 15:00 BST to discuss the investment and partnership opportunities in the accelerating the energy transition in farms.


Richard Legault, CEO, Eocycle Technologies

Daniel Pinault, Principal, Cycle Capital

Julia Reichelstein, [climate] Investor, PIVA Capital

Tim Kay, Commercial Director, Verco

Other speakers tbd

Moderator: Tom Whitehouse, CEO, Leif Capital

Register here

Tom Whitehouse, CEO, Leif Capital

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