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Mills & Reeve advises on £4.5m Series A fundraise for agtech firm

The Business Magazine article image for: Mills & Reeve advises on £4.5m Series A fundraise for agtech firm
2 December 2022

National law firm Mills & Reeve has advised Regenerate Ventures on its investment in agritech start-up, BigSis, as part of a £4.5m Series A fundraise.

Specialist agricultural innovation fund Regenerate Ventures led the over-subscribed round which was also supported by the BigSis board, other repeat investors and high-net-worth individuals.

Reading-headquartered BigSis uses AI and robotics to provide chemical free insect control to farmers and growers. Its solutions are based on the sterile insect technique (SIT). Sterilised males are released into the crop where they mate with wild females to produce no offspring. This prevents the rapid increase in pest populations that leads to crop damage. The BigSis solution is species-specific, non-toxic and non-GMO, and capable of out-performing chemical insecticides in many agricultural and horticultural crops.

The new round comes 14 months after a Seed Plus round of £1.5 million, which achieved significant milestones, including publication of the successful world-first field trial that demonstrated a 91 per cent reduction in spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), an invasive pest of fruit crops.

BigSis founder and CEO, Glen Slade, said: “Successful closure of the Series A round is a further significant milestone for BigSis and builds on the success of last year’s Seed Plus round in commissioning our pilot automated production line for sterile male SWD. As we move towards delivering the first commercial sales of our SWD solution in 2023, these funds enable us to scale-up the pilot plant to a full micro-production unit that can service the increasing numbers of orders we’re receiving.”

Paul Rous of Regenerate Ventures said: “We believe BigSis provides a real step change in the fight to reduce chemical insecticides in the grown-produce industry and reduce crop loss. Not only will the reduction in chemicals help to reduce carbon emissions but, more importantly, it will help farmers preserve and protect local biodiversity. With limited competition and a huge market opportunity, we have a strong conviction in Glen and the team.”

zickie limZickie Lim, head of the venture capital team at Mills & Reeve, which advised Regenerate Ventures, said: “We are delighted to have advised Regenerate Ventures on the Series A funding round for BigSis. Having been involved in the creation of this fund which looks to finance the development and commercialisation of climate-resilient, sustainable and regenerative agriculture technologies, so vital to restoring health to the food system from farm to fork, it’s fantastic to see the money now being invested. BigSis is a pioneering agtech firm and an excellent addition to Regenerate Ventures’ portfolio of companies that are leading the way in sustainable food production.”

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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