BioLumic Closes Series A to Harness the Power of Ultraviolet Light for Farmers Around the Globe

Leading Ag Investors Back Novel Method to Sustainably Improve Crop Performance and Yield

Palmerston North, New ZealandMarch 14, 2018 BioLumic, creators of the first ultraviolet (UV) crop yield enhancement system, today announced the close of $5 million in Series A financing. Led by top AgTech investors Finistere Ventures and Radicle Growth acceleration fund, with Rabobank’s recently launched Food & Agri Innovation Fund and existing investors from New Zealand also joining this round.

“We actively invest in data-driven technology startups who are changing the paradigm for sustainable AgTech from around the globe, and BioLumic was an ideal fit for us,” said Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures. “Using UV treatments to complement traditional chemicals or biologicals, BioLumic will give farmers a new way to enhance crop yield and vigor by activating stronger plant characteristics with the power of light.”

Addressing the global need for increased agricultural crop yields, BioLumic treats seedlings and seeds with its proprietary ultraviolet light systems. Its patented technology precisely applies UV light treatments that deliver long-term crop benefits—including improved crop consistency, increased yield and disease resistance. Already in commercial use for high-value produce crops around the globe, BioLumic has worked with large-scale produce growers and processors in California and Mexico with yield gains of up to 22 percent, and commercial trials are taking place in Spain and the United Kingdom.

“Light is an extremely powerful biological tool that can safely manipulate plants without the concerns often associated with genetic modification, chemical usage, and other unnatural treatments,” said BioLumic CEO Warren Bebb. “BioLumic is the only company using light as an Ag treatment at the beginning of a plant’s life. Exposure to a short-duration treatment of UV-enriched light at a critical stage in a plant’s development turns on characteristics to help the seed or seedling more effectively defend itself against disease or pest attacks and more efficiently use water and nutrients from the soil for its entire lifespan.”

Founded by Dr. Jason Wargent, a world-renowned photobiologist specializing in UV/plant interactions, and spun out of leading AgTech research from Massey University in New Zealand, BioLumic’s technology is rooted in more than a decade of research into UV photomorphogenesis, a process whereby a
precise UV treatment induces plant root and leaf development and activates its secondary metabolism. BioLumic’s growing team of scientists and engineers are now translating Wargent’s scientific discoveries into commercial products that will reshape crop-growing operations around the world.

“BioLumic has all of the elements necessary for long-term success in the AgTech arena –a dynamic management team, novel technology and a substantial, rapidly growing market,” noted Kirk Haney, CEO and managing partner, Radicle Growth. ”Given the multi-million acre opportunity for high-value crops and rapidly growing seed treatment market, we think BioLumic could change the Ag industry’s approach to crop productivity and seed treatments by sustainably turning on stronger plant characteristics with the power of light.”

Initially focused on lettuce, broccoli, strawberry and tomato seedlings, BioLumic will also use the recent funding to accelerate the research and commercialization of its seed-focused technology, expanding into row crop and vegetable seeds in years ahead as well. The investment will also be used to aggressively expand the BioLumic team in both New Zealand and its new U.S. office in California, and to intensify the global deployment of its UV technologies.

“Ag players are seeking to find more sustainable ways to meet the growing global food production demands, and BioLumic is the first to take a UV approach to precision seed/seedling treatments,“ added Richard O’Gorman, director, Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund.“We believe BioLumic has the potential to significantly enhance the value of produce for growers by enabling higher yield and greater crop uniformity – in particular in geographies where Rabo has a strong history of serving farmers.”

Kukutai and Haney will join current AgBio veteran Dr. John Bedbrook on the BioLumic Board. Kukutai and Haney will focus on helping the company make connections with key industry players to expand its global reach and further its research and development efforts.

View this video to see how the BioLumic UV crop yield enhancement system works.

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BioLumic at Forbes Agtech Summit

BioLumic's CEO, Warren Bebb, and CSO, Dr. Jason Wargent, attended the invitation-only Forbes Agtech Summit in Salinas, California on June 26-28 2017. The three-day, invitation-only event brought together more than 600 of the most entrepreneurial minds in global agriculture with those from the Silicon Valley to tackle some of the world’s most critical challenges.

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BioLumic presenting at World Agri-Tech Investment Summit

BioLumic's CEO, Warren Bebb, will be presenting in a Technology Showcase session at the World Agri-Tech Investment Summit in San Francisco, March 16-17. 
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BioLumic raises further $2m of Capital

BioLumic raised a further $2m in investment to fund the company's development of UV Treatment Systems for agriculture. The funding will take the company through to Q2 2017, when another investment round is planned.

BioLumic presenting at PMA Tech Knowledge Symposium, Monterey, California, USA

BioLumic will be presenting at the Produce Marketing Association's Tech Knowledge Symposium being held in Monterey, California on May 11-13, 2015.  In addition to presenting, BioLumic will have a "Discovery Pod" at the event that will enable growers to learn more about how a BioLumic UV Treatment System can improve yields in their operations.

Dr Jason Wargent Moderating Panel at Indoor AgCon

Dr Jason Wargent, BioLumic's Founder and Chief Science Officer, will be moderating a panel at the 3rd Indoor AgCon, in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 31- April 1 2015.  Dr Wargent will be moderating the panel titled "How do we pick the optimal lighting technology?"

New Appointments at BioLumic

Dr Hangfeng Ji and (soon to be Dr) Luke Cooney joined BioLumic in Q4 2014.  Dr Ji, who is BioLumic's Product Development Manager - UV Devices, was previously Lead Scientist for Horticultural Array Development at Philips China.  Luke Cooney has submittted his PhD Thesis in Ecology & Biodiversity on how plants mitigate stress, focusing on light as a stressor.  Luke is joining Dr Claudia Rossig in our UV Treatment Development Team under BioLumic's Chief Science Officer, Dr Jason Wargent.
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BioLumic raises further Investment Capital

BioLumic raised a further $1.1m in investment to fund the company's development of UV Treatment Systems for agriculture. The funding will take the company through to Q4 2015, when another investment round is planned.

BioLumic presenting at Ag Innovation Showcase, St. Louis, USA

BioLumic's CEO, Warren Bebb, will be presenting at the Ag Innovation Showcase to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, USA from 8-10 September 2014.  Only 20 companies from around the world were chosen form the 75 that applied to present.  The Ag Innovation Showcase is the most important Agtech event in the world.  It is attended by technology scouts from multinational Agrichemical and Agtech companies as well as investment managers from venture capital organisations.

BioLumic at NZ Agri Showcase

BioLumic's CEO, Warren Bebb, presented at the New Zealand Agri Showcase on 11 June.  Seven of NZ's up-and-coming Agritech companies were selected for the event.  The showcase was hosted by NZTE's Better by Capital division, and over 100 potential investors attended.

Dr Wargent presents at GFIA

BioLumic Founder, Dr Jason Wargent, presented at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture on 4 February 2014.  Dr Wargent explained the potential for BioLumic UV treatments, highlighted impressive improvements in yield that BioLumic treatments have achieved, as well as outlining future developments at the company.  Find out more about GFIA
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BioLumic Secures Further Investment 

BioLumic has successfully completed a new investment round with backing from Global from Day One programme (GD1).  The investment will finance customer trials and a foray into international markets.
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BioLumic secures Seed Investment and Government R&D Funding

"There's a certain circularity in the story of horticultural lighting solutions start-up Biolumic. The tale began when its founder and chief science officer, plant physiologist Jason Wargent, was prompted by the hole in the ozone layer to investigate the negative effects increased levels of ultraviolet light were having on plants. What he found, however, was that increased UV levels had many beneficial effects on the way plants grow."  To read the full article, click here.
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Biolumic Ltd.
The Factory
21 Dairy Farm Rd
PO Box 1210
Palmerston North 4440
New Zealand
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