ZeaKal Raises $5.3M on Series B Funding, Develops PhotoSeed, Expands Field Trials
ZeaKal, the San Diego biotech Ag company that is increasing the photosynthetic efficiency of plants, raised $5.3M in Series B funding in 2016 led by Finistere Ventures with participation by Middleland Capital and several family office investors. To date, ZeaKal has raised $9.1M in capital. In addition, ZeaKal acquired Algenetix, an industrial biotech company that is developing petrochemical alternatives. The ZeaKal team is using their current round of funding to expand their PhotoSeed™ pipeline and implement new soybean field trials.
Since presenting in 2012, ZeaKal has expanded to 6 members on their executive team and added 20-25 lab partners in New Zealand, Missouri, and Nevada. The company was awarded $13M in grants in New Zealand to implement their trait technology in perennial ryegrass. At present, the company is focusing on three goals: improving the optimization of PhotoSeed™ as well as other products in development, looking beyond the big six agriculture companies for partnerships, and building visibility of the company across the Ag biotech industry.
Han Chen, the CEO of ZeaKal has attended every Showcase since 2010. Showcase provided the company visibility during their “incubation phase” and now acts as a benchmark for ZeaKal to provide key contacts within the Ag Showcase community a yearly snapshot of financial and product development growth, according to Chen.
“I come every year. I might miss other conferences, but I’m not going to miss showcase”, says Chen.