Latest Bonds Investment Group News
Jun 11, 2021
Sagri , the Japanese startup behind a satellite-based agricultural analytics platform under the same name, announced on Wednesday that it has secured 155 million yen (about $1.4 million US) in its latest round. This round is led by Real Tech Fund with participatioin from Minato Capital, Senshu Ikeda Capital, Hiroshima Venture Capital, and Hyogo Kobe Startup Fund (managed by Bonds Investment Group, Hyogo Prefecture, and Kobe City). This is the first investment for Hyogo Kobe Startup Fund. For Sagri, this follows their angel round securing funds from Hiroya Hanafusa (CEO of Alan Products) plus Glocalink back in January of 2019 and another round funding based on the J-KISS scheme back in April of 2010. The gap between their current capital amount and the size of the latest round allows us to estimate how much they have secured in the past rounds. The round stage is considered to be a seed round. CEO Tsuboi delivered a pitch at Demo Day of Rock Thailand 2nd batch in Bangkok in December of 2019. Image credit: Masaru Ikeda Sagri gets soil conditions (corrosion content) using satellite data and updates on farm products and varieties from farmers to create a blockchain-powered database. Putting these altogether, the company tells farmers how to improve soil conditions from biological, chemical and physical viewpoints in addition to offering them with accurate measurement to help farmers get more harvest. They have also developed a scoring scheme evaluating farmland by soil conditions data and macro data of corrosion content. Conventional methods measuringnitrogen in soil were expensive while the company has succeeded inlowering the cost using satellite data. Focused on what, rice and sugarcane, the technology can give farmers harvest prediction and advise them how much fertilizer they should use. By sending all these insights tofinancial institutions, the company encourages them give loans to localfarmers in India while the Japanese government leverages the technologyto determine the status of fallow fields to see if then can resumecultivation. Actaba Image credit: Sagri Inspired on their own service rolled out in India, the company has the Actaba platform to help detect abandoned fields. In Japan, local government officials keep visiting and checking their area to find abandoned fields. However, based on the wavelength data obtained from satellites, Sagri’s AI-based technology has improved to determine whether the land is abandoned or not with over 90 percent accuracy, leading to more efficient work. More than 10 city governments all across the country, including Tsukuba, Kobe, Nagoya, and Kaga, are planning to start demonstration tests within this year. Another pillar of Sagri’s business is the AI polygon to curate and manage accuurate plots of farmlands. In Japan, plots are manually drawn on the lanp map provided by the Agricultural Ministry but inaccurate map data may cause danger for applications such as aerial fertilizer spraying by autonomous drone flight. The company is planning to accelerate its farming business by plotting farmland in various regions in Japan, India, and Thailand. It will use satellite data to obtain data such as carbon, nitrogen content and pH in farmlands, aiming to help improve the efficiency of fertilization process. Sagri were qualified for the MUFG Digital Accelerator 4th Batch and the 500 Kobe 3rd Batch followed by attending the 2nd batch of Rock Thailand , a cross-border open innovation event organized by the Embassy of Japan in Thailand and CP Group, one of the largest conglomerate in Thailand. Related news Image credit: OIST The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) and Beyond Next Ventures announced today that they have reached a partnership aiming to strengthen investments in and building an innovation ecosystem of DeepTech startups in Okinawa. Following the partnership, the two parties are launching the OIST-BNV Innovation Hub, or OBI-Hub for short. It aims to provide DeepTech startups from around the world with investment opportunities and other services to implement their innovations into society. OIST will provide technology, a network of industry experts, and on-campus incubation facilities, while BNV will provide funding and hands-on support for startups. Applications for joining the platform will be accepted online starting on June 1. OBI-Hub plans to invest up to 500 million yen ($4.6 million US) in qualified startups over the next two years. Founded back in 2016, BNV is a Tokyo-based VC firm focused on startups on life sciences and technology seeds. The firm runs the BRAVE acceleration program as well as the Beyond BioLAB TOKYO shared lab in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. OIST operates an on-campus accelerator and incubator called iSquare, also collaborating with the Okinawa Startup Program , a startup support program run by local enterprises in Okinawa. BNV joined the seed round of an OIST startup EF Polymer last month. Related news Image credit: Secai Marche Tokyo- / Kuala Lumpur-based Secai Marche , the Japanese startup behind a shared food supply chain for the Southeast Asian market under the same name, announced on Tuesday that it has secured 150 million yen (about $1.4 million US) from Beyond Next Ventures and Rakuten Ventures. The company plans to use the funds to strengthen its fresh food fulfillment service, hire new talents, and enhance its marketing effort. Since its launch backin July of 2018, the company has been offering a cold supply chainconnecting farmers and food producers with F&B businesses in theSoutheast Asian market, especially optimized for the delivery oflow-volume and high-mix orders. Supply chains for fresh producein the region is usually operated by the supplier side, which areoptimized for bulk deliveries and therefore difficult to use it forsmall restaurants which typically ask for small orders or niche needs.The company wants to solve the problem by building a shared supply chain allowing several different food suppliers to use for delivery. The company says more than 100 farmers and food producers in Japan andASEAN as well as more than 300 restaurants and hotels are using the20-month-old platform.
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