Revolutionizing Food Production: AgTech startup Tupu Raises $3.2M Seed Round to Redefine Mushroom Cultivation
October 31, 2023 - 5 min read
- Funding round co-led by FoodLabs and Zubi Capital, alongside Clear Current Capital, FoodHack, IT-Farm, CoastCap, and prominent business angels.
- Fresh capital to further scale its production capacity and supply large players in the food service and retail sectors.
Berlin, October 31, 2023. Tupu, a Berlin-based AgTech company, has secured a $3.2M Seed round to revolutionize food production through its decentralized farming system. The round was co-led by FoodLabs and Zubi Capital, alongside Clear Current Capital, FoodHack, IT-Farm, Coast Cap, and prominent business angels in the food & tech industry such as Roger Hassan and Gil Horsky.
Combining their modular farming system (patent-pending) with bioscience, robotics, and AI, Tupu grows a diverse range of organic gourmet mushrooms directly in cities - offering consumers sustainable, farm-fresh products at a competitive price. The company’s first farm launched in November last year and supplies more than three tons a month to a wide range of customers from renowned local wholesalers to Michelin-starred chefs.
With the fresh capital, Tupu will further scale its production capacity and supply large players in the food service and retail sectors. Furthermore, the Tupu team is working on increasing space efficiency and advancing its automation technology.
“We are grateful to have such forward-thinking investors onboard that share our faith in the power of mushrooms to address the pressing challenges of global food insecurity in the face of the climate crisis,” says Eldad Arnon, co-founder and CEO of Tupu. “We envision a future where food is produced right where it is consumed and organic farm-fresh food is accessible to everyone.”
Tupu was co-founded by Eldad Arnon and Daniel Lock, both of whom are experienced managers from the controlled environment farming industry (Infarm, Kalera). Driven by the mission to unlock the untapped potential hidden in the mushroom kingdom, they founded Tupu in 2021.
“While the vertical farming sector has been challenging recently, in particular for leafy greens and other energy-intensive crops, urban farming will play a key role in our future food system”, says Daniel, co-founder and COO. “Unlike plants, mushrooms have always been cultivated indoors, yet in an inefficient manner, and we’re leapfrogging the current state of the industry with our technology by 50 years. Mushrooms offer immense potential across various sectors - food is just the beginning.”
Tupu’s innovative technology builds on multiple key elements, including the industry’s first harvesting robot for gourmet mushrooms, advanced camera vision artificial intelligence, and the integration of millions of data points from IoT devices distributed throughout its farm. The digitization and automation of the company’s value chain tackle a range of challenges in agriculture and food manufacturing, from labor scarcity to yield improvement and spatial efficiency.
“Controlled environment farming is a key technology to make our food supply chain climate resilient. We’re excited about Tupu as they are able to make indoor farming economically viable,” says Till Hoelzer, Principal at FoodLabs. “As early backers of the company, we’re very happy about their recent funding round and their journey ahead.”
Mushrooms can be grown anywhere, indoors, and year-round, making them immune to supply chain disruptions, while offering incredible nutritional benefits, such as essential B vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and protein - at an environmental cost close to zero. Compared to other food sources, mushrooms surpass even vegetables in terms of CO2 emissions, water consumption, and land usage efficiency. However, the current journey from farm to fork is inefficient and unsustainable. Mushrooms are transported across distances of up to 7000 km, which often results in compromised taste, a shorter shelf life, fewer nutrients, and a hefty carbon footprint.
At the same time, there is a growing demand among consumers for organic, sustainable, and local products, driven by the rise of health consciousness, the surge in plant-based diets, and the demand for sustainable meat alternatives.
Today, some of Berlin’s most renowned chefs use Tupu’s mushrooms to craft new vegan creations. For example, Sebastian Frank, head chef and owner of two-starred Michelin restaurant Horváth uses Tupu’s King Oyster mushroom for his animal-free foie gras.
Tupu is an early-stage food technology start-up with a vision to reinvent the way we produce and consume food. Combining bioscience, robotics, and AI, Tupu is developing a decentralized farming system to grow fresh and flavorful mushrooms locally in cities. Founded in 2021 and headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Tupu provides farm-fresh mushrooms to food services, restaurants, and grocery delivery companies. More at: https://www.heytupu.com/
FoodLabs is the leading pan-European Early Stage VC investor and venture studio for food, sustainability and health. We strongly believe that entrepreneurship holds the key to pushing the boundaries in the food industry. Based in Berlin, FoodLabs has built and invested in more than 50 early-stage FoodTech companies since 2016. We’re backing the most ambitious, purpose-driven entrepreneurs, who are committed to changing the world’s largest industry. FoodLabs has been an early investor in some of the most seminal European FoodTech startups including Meatable, Klim, Mushlabs and Formo. More at: https://www.foodlabs.com/
About Zubi Capital
Zubi Capital is a Spanish impact asset and wealth management firm. Founded in 2020 as the investment arm of Zubi Group, Zubi Capital delivers financially competitive investment solutions and advice, serving as a catalyst for social, environmental, and economic impact. For that purpose, Zubi Capital joins forces and builds long-term relationships with like-minded partners that are concerned about current global social and environmental challenges and that share the company’s values. More at: https://zubicapital.com/