Decarbonization startup Loam, which uses microbes to sequester carbon in agricultural soils, has raised $105 million in a Series B.
The latest raise comes 20 months after the $40 million Series A — bringing the total to $150 million
Loam’s Series B was co-led by US climate-focused VC Lowercarbon Capital and former Macquarie Capital boss Tim Bishop’s Wollemi Capital.
Once again, existing lenders Horizons Ventures, Acre Venture partners, Main Sequence, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures and several others are chipped.
Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures joined Loam’s cap table during Series A.
Originally founded in 2019 by a group of scientists, farmers and entrepreneurs in Australia and North America to both remove CO2 from the atmosphere and improve soil health.
The agritech startup has developed a microbial coating for crop seeds, known as inoculum, to increase soil carbon storage and also improve crop yields.
Loam co-founder and CEO Guy Hudson said tThe solution is designed to bind carbon in structures in the soil called micro-aggregates, increasing the amount of permanently stored CO2.
“Loem’s microbial technology allows larger amounts of carbon to be stored in the soil for longer periods of time,” he said
“Increasing the quantity and quality of carbon units that farmers can produce per hectare makes participation in carbon projects more economically valuable for farms.”
Hudson launched Loam after more than a decade in the climate space, in response to his own frustration with the lack of speed and scale of the technologies to address climate change.
“The first time I felt any hope in our ability to rise to this challenge was five years ago when I was in a car in dusty and drought-stricken New South Wales, with an agronomist [and Loam cofounder] Guy Webb, who started talking about the role of microbiology in tackling climate change,” he said.
“We’re working with the world’s largest terrestrial carbon sink.”
Hudson said the Loam has now launched its CarbonBuilder seed inoculum and SecondCrop carbon projects in Australia.
“After many years of product research and development, we are now focusing on bringing our products to the farm,” he said.
“This year we are moving from pre-commercial to commercial and launching our products in Australia, working with a limited number of farmers to help them derive value from our products and services in Australia.”
The company is also planning commercialization in the US in 2024, followed by expansion into Brazil, a leading global producer of soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar, coffee and beef.
its co-founder, Tegan Nock, said the traditional belief was building soil carbon in agricultural lands was not possible, making carbon projects unprofitable for those farmers.
Loam’s CarbonBuilder seed inoculum is the game changer.
“CarbonBuilder is the first of its kind. A simple product that farmers can apply in the agricultural system, allowing them to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it stably in the soil,” she said.
“There’s never been a technology like this on the market before and it offers a unique value proposition to farmers.”
In the meantime, SecondCrop is a Loam carbon farming program that allows farmers to support carbon projects with more support and more flexibility.
“SecondCrop combines Loam’s world-class microbial technology and farmer-friendly carbon project offerings to achieve the best agronomic and climate outcomes,” said Nock.
Loam is now enrolling Australian farmers in ERF carbon projects through SecondCrop. E-mail [email protected] for details.