OAKLAND, Calif., March 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- TerViva, an agriculture technology firm commercializing resilient pongamia trees that produce as much as ten times the beans per acre as soy for the supply of plant protein, vegetable oil, and biofuel raised an additional $20 million in its first close of its Series D funding and current commitments. This latest round of investment was led by a diversified agricultural family office, Evans Properties, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and a group of Florida agricultural family offices, who join existing investors including the Elemental Excelerator, the Yield Lab, Astia Angels, Allotrope Ventures and Howard Fischer of Gratitude Railroad. New funds will allow TerViva to accelerate research connecting the pongamia bean's valuable functional properties to critical processing and product development partnerships that will demonstrate commercial viability of pongamia protein and oil. These funds will also grow TerViva's infrastructure to supply farmers with the company's patented high-yielding oilseed trees in Florida and Hawaii.
TerViva sells farmers patented non-GMO cultivars of pongamia selected for their high yields and hardy growth. Farmers partner with TerViva to grow pongamia on abandoned agriculture lands with little to no fertilizers or pesticides. TerViva buys back the crop for processing into plant protein, livestock feed, and high-oleic oil. By cultivating high seed-producing trees and successfully removing compounds impacting taste, TerViva is the first company to make the ancient pongamia tree's protein and vegetable oil yields accessible for food applications.
"Consumption of plant-based proteins and oils is growing rapidly, but the amount of arable land to grow these crops is increasingly limited," says Naveen Sikka, founder and CEO of TerViva. "We've developed a sustainable, market-driven approach for farmers to profit off marginal land by cultivating trees that can feed the planet. We look forward to building partnerships that will incorporate our supply of highly-sustainable pongamia protein and oil as food and feed ingredients."
TerViva is planting patented varieties of the pongamia tree in Florida, where the citrus industry has dramatically shrunk and few alternative crops have emerged, and in Hawaii, on former sugar cane lands on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui, which saw the state's last sugar cane harvest in 2016. TerViva has 150,000 trees under contract with existing customers that include several of the largest citrus farmers in Florida and will use funding to deliver an additional 200,000 trees in the coming two years. Growers and local communities will benefit from a sustainable plant protein with a dramatically lower carbon footprint, and greater resilience to extreme storms, flooding, drought, and heat than annual plant proteins.
The pongamia tree produces a legume that is related to beans, peas and lentils and has been harvested for mostly medicinal uses for more than 1,000 years. As a plant protein, pongamia has excellent potential as a replacement for soy. Pongamia protein has strong gelling and emulsification properties and pongamia vegetable oil is similar to high-oleic acid vegetable oils. TerViva has conducted studies utilizing pongamia protein as an animal feed ingredient with poultry and cows, with promising results emerging as it prepares for regulatory submissions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
TerViva's funding round has enabled the firm to bring on new leaders in sustainability, growth, and food and feed commercialization, including Jim Astwood, PhD., Agricultural Food and Science, Certified Food Scientist, formerly VP of Scientifics and Government Affairs at Martek (DSM), VP of Global Nutrition at ConAgra Foods, and Science Fellow and Director of Food Regulatory Affairs at Monsanto; and Marc Diaz, who has led impact investing for NatureVest at The Nature Conservancy and UNICEF Bridge Fund, a 2017 Aspen Institute Finance Leaders Fellow, member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and former management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
TerViva's board chairman is Ron Edwards, president and CEO of Evans Properties, Inc., former COO of Tropicana, co-founder of SoBe Beverages and Blue Buffalo Pet Food. He observes that, "TerViva will invest this Series D fundraising support alongside Florida's citrus growers eager to revitalize fallow acreage and scale-up a sustainable, transparent oilseed supply chain. This will unlock numerous applications of the company's intellectual property growing high-performing trees and processing beans in to nutritious food and feed products to meet a broad range of needs."
Formed in 2010, TerViva is a Series-D agricultural technology company that produces pongamia trees with abundant oil and protein-rich beans, similar to soybeans. We provide patented high-yielding trees and offer proprietary bean processing to create sustainable food and fuel. TerViva uses pongamia to restore farmland to productive use, helping farmers feed people while taking care of the planet. Learn more at TerViva.com.
For more information: Justin Wilson, [email protected]