The developer of non-toxic pesticides raised an $85m round backed by BASF. The deal is part of the agriculture and agtech space which is enjoying more interest from corporates this year than previously.

US-based developer of non-toxic pesticides Provivi received $85m in a series C round, which was co-led by venture capital fund Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund as well as the Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek. The round also included BASF Venture Capital, the corporate venturing unit of chemical producer BASF, among other investors. This latest and fresh funding is meant to enable the company to start commercialising a direct-to-farmer product for fall armyworm – a moth whose larvae can damage different types of crops, including peanuts, oranges, apples rice and tobacco.

Launched in 2012, Provivi develops alternatives to traditional pesticides, which rely on insect pheromones to confuse pests, preventing their finding and mating with each other and, ultimately, this way protecting the crops from destruction. The pheromones are adapted to specific species, avoiding the unnecessary death of organisms that pose no threat.

This deal is part of the broader agriculture and agtech space, which has been given much attention by corporate venture investors in recent years, as our GCV Analytics bar chart illustrates. While the number of corporate-backed rounds remained stable at 34-35 transactions in 2017-18, we have registered a considerable increase of such deals by the end of the third quarter of this year (43) already. It remains to be seen if this increased interest will be accompanied by a more considerable rise in valuation, reflecting in the total estimated dollars in such rounds.