Pivot Bio Raises $70 Million To Strengthen The Launch Of Its Nitrogen-Producing Microbes

By Noah Long ● October 6, 2018

Pivot Bio has announced that it has raised $70 million in Series B funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Singapore-based investments company Temasek also participated in this round. In conjunction with the funding, Cooper Rinzler of Breakthrough Energy and Dheeraj Mehta of Temasek will be joining Pivot Bio’s board of directors.

Some of Pivot Bio’s previous investors include Data Collective, Monsanto Growth Ventures, Prelude Ventures, and Spruce Capital Partners. And Pivot Bio received early support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

This round of funding will help strengthen Pivot Bio’s commercial launch of the first and only nitrogen-producing microbes for U.S. corn farmers next year. And the company has plans to develop nitrogen-producing microbes for other crops beyond corn such as wheat and rice.

With this round of funding, Pivot Bio will expand upon its research and development for its second-generation product — which is a seed treatment option — along with product introductions beyond the US in markets like Brazil, Argentina, and Canada. Pivot Bio’s PROVENTM product supplies cleaner alternatives to synthetic nitrogen applied to crops every day.

“Breakthrough Energy Ventures is the perfect lead investor in Pivot Bio’s Series B funding. We both share a vision of a more sustainable food system and a commitment to a better planet,” said Pivot Bio CEO and co-founder Karsten Temme, Ph.D. “This round of funding enables Pivot Bio to introduce our products to the world. We’re excited to deliver a product to farmers that increases their productivity while improving the quality of our air and water through reduced fertilizer-linked pollution.”

According to Pivot Bio’s research, fertilizer is a critical input for producing food, but a portion of it decomposes into nitrous oxide and it becomes a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This makes fertilizer responsible for about 5% of global warming. And worldwide fertilizer-linked pollution contributes to more than 500 dead zones, which are areas that are so toxic that no living organisms are there. One of the largest dead zones is where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

“Pivot Bio is addressing one of the largest sources of GHGs on the planet – the potent nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions associated with the use of synthetic fertilizers,” added Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “We’ve been extremely impressed with the team, their differentiated approach to crop nutrition, and their commitment to creating value for the farmer. This company has an opportunity to make a meaningful positive difference for our environment while disrupting the $200 billion fertilizer market.”