Company welcomes S2G Ventures and Cheryl Martin, Ph.D. to Board of Directors
EMERYVILLE, Calif. (May 19, 2020) – Sound Agriculture today announced the close of its $22 million Series C funding, led by S2G Ventures (Seed 2 Growth), a Chicago-based venture fund focused on healthy and sustainable food innovation. Existing investors, Cultivian Sandbox, Fall Line Capital, Cavallo Ventures and Syngenta Ventures, also participated in the round. Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Director and CIO of S2G Ventures has joined the Board of Directors, along with new independent board member and Chair of the Board, Cheryl Martin, Ph.D., Founder and Principal of Harwich Partners. The financing will be used to accelerate the development of novel bio-inspired plant traits and chemistries, as well as new business development efforts across food and agriculture.
“Developing a more diverse set of crop solutions is essential to the success of growers, consumers and the wellbeing of the planet ,” said Adam Litle, CEO of Sound. “We are thrilled to have S2G Ventures and Cheryl Martin join the Sound team. They provide a wealth of experience, network and resources as Sound expands its consumer side of the business that focuses on healthier, tastier and more differentiated food.”
Sound develops innovative crop solutions that unleash the natural power of plants to help growers produce crops with fewer resources, and give consumers access to better food. The company’s first commercial product, SOURCE™ was launched last year to unlock nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil, supporting plant and soil health, and on-farm efficiency. By harnessing existing nutrients in the field, SOURCE provides an average corn yield increase of 8-10 bushels per acre without requiring more fertilizer. Additional products will support the efficient use of other natural resources, allowing growers to maintain profitability while improving the environment.
In addition to grower-facing products, Sound is addressing changing consumer preferences with its next generation on-demand breeding platform that rapidly evolves traits to improve the nutrition, taste and sustainability of food without gene modification.
“Sound Agriculture is launching new discoveries that are in line with our goals for a healthier, more resilient and more sustainable food system,” said Krishnan. “By combining our understanding of evolving consumer food preferences with their novel technology platform, we will be able to provide new answers to the challenges facing the entire food system.”
As Chair of the Board, Martin’s expertise on market adoption of new technologies will help accelerate the launch of the company’s multi-faceted platform. She has served as a Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, Acting Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and held the role of Executive in Residence with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Prior to that, she was a General Manager at specialty chemicals manufacturer, Rohm and Haas, which was acquired by Dow Chemical in 2008. Martin earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“Embracing modern approaches to plant science is a critical step to ensure the well-being of our food system and planet,” said Martin. “I have spent my career helping transformative new technologies flourish and I am excited to work closely with the team at Sound to advance innovation in a way that can benefit both people and the planet.”