Mar 28, 2017
Benson Hill Biosystems closes funding round for CropOS

Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company, has closed a Series B funding round at $25 million. The funding will be used to further advance CropOS, Benson Hill’s computational platform driven by data and machine learning, and to develop a portfolio of promising product candidates to increase crop yield without requiring additional inputs.

Benson Hill leverages cloud biology, an intersection of cloud computing, big data analytics and plant biology to empower companies of all sizes to improve the genetics of any crop, according to the company. CropOS is a cognitive engine that enabling researchers to better predict which seeds will produce a desired trait, the company claims. The platform outputs can be deployed in crop plants by using a spectrum of approaches and tools, from breeding to genome editing to transgenics.

The company’s first application of CropOS successfully identified traits to increase crop yields by improving photosynthesis, according to Benson Hill. In corn hybrids, trait product candidates identified by CropOS have demonstrated significant crop yield increases in diverse environmental conditions.

This funding round was co-led by Lewis & Clark Ventures and Prelude Ventures, with other new investors including Fall Line Capital and S2G Ventures. Existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, Cultivation Capital, iSelect Fund, Mercury Fund, Middleland Capital, Missouri Technology Corporation, Prolog Ventures and TechAccel also participated. As part of the financing, David Russell of Lewis & Clark Ventures and Mark Cupta of Prelude Ventures will join the Benson Hill board of directors.

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