Decarbonisation startup Loam, which uses microbes to sequester carbon in farm soils, has raised $105 million in a Series B.
The latest raise comes 20 months after its $40 million Series A – and brings the total raised 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 chipping in are existing backers Horizons Ventures, Acre Venture partners, Main Sequence, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures, and several others.
Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures joined Loam’s cap table during its 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 crop seed coating, known as inoculum, to ramp up carbon storage sin the soil and also improve crop yields.
Loam cofounder and CEO Guy Hudson said the solution is designed to bind carbon within structures in the soil called micro-aggregates, increasing the amount of CO2 stored permanently.
“Loam’s microbial technology enables greater volumes of carbon to be stored in soils for longer periods of time,” he said
“Increasing the quantity and quality of carbon units farmers can produce per hectare, makes participating in carbon projects more economically valuable for farming enterprises.”
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 in addressing climate change.”
“The first time I felt any hope in our ability to address this challenge was five years ago sitting in a ute in dusty and drought-stricken New South Wales, with agronomist [and Loam cofounder] Guy Webb, who started talking about the role of microbiology in addressing 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.
“Following many years of product research and development, we’re now focused on getting our products out on farm,” he said.
“This year we’re moving from pre-commercial to commercial and launching our products in Australia, working with a limited number of farmers to help them gain value from our products and services in Australia.”
The venture is also working on commercialisation in the US in 2024, followed by expansion into Brazil, a leading global producer of soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar, coffee, and beef.
His cofounder, Tegan Nock, said the traditional belief was that building soil carbon in cropping soils couldn’t be done, thus making carbon projects for those farmers unprofitable.
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 enabling them to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it stably in soil,” she said.
“There’s not been a technology like it in the marketplace before, and it presents a unique value proposition for farmers.”
Meanwhile, SecondCrop is Loam carbon farming program, allows farmers to back carbon projects with greater support and more flexibility.
“SecondCrop combines Loam’s world-class microbial technology and a farmer-friendly carbon project offering to achieve the greatest agronomic and climate outcomes,” Nock said.
Loam is now enrolling Australian farmers into ERF carbon projects through SecondCrop. Email [email protected] for details.