Innovative agritech firms addressing climate change are supported by Bidra's venture capital fund in collaboration with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and The OCP Group
Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the OCP Group have committed $200 million to Bidra Innovation Ventures (Bidra), according to the company. The programme will broaden Bidra's investment horizon to cover developments in agriculture, mining, water, and energy. One year ago, Bidra unveiled a $50 million fund for agriculture, funded by the same investors as this latest round of funding. This $200M is in addition to the $50M that has previously been funded.
Amar Singh, Head of Group, Bidra Innovation Ventures, stated that UM6P understands the importance of innovation in finding long-term solutions to the world's problems.
“We are grateful for UM6P’s visionary leadership and support as we continue to back innovators forging the future via sustainable technologies for Africa and beyond. Having OCP’s support is a tremendous advantage because now we can extend OCP’s regional know-how and distribution capacity to startups that are ready to scale.”
OCP Group unveiled a green investment strategy in December 2022 with a $13 billion commitment over the following four years to become fully carbon neutral by 2040.
“If you have technology that is ready for prime-time, consider Bidra as a gateway to scaling your technology in Africa and beyond,” Singh said.
Companies supported by Bidra gain from the financial capabilities of UM6P and the OCP Group as well as the organisations' specialised knowledge and extensive worldwide reach. Every creator seeks one or more of these three inputs: talent, customers, and capital. All three of Bidra, UM6P, and OCP can help.
“At Niqo Robotics, we are pioneering a sustainable revolution in agriculture through AI powered agricultural robots. Our proprietary green on green spot spray robots use real time AI assisted computer vision to selectively spray chemicals on plants resulting in up to 60% chemical savings and limiting the environmental impact of excess chemical usage,” said Jaisimha Rao,
Founder and CEO of Niqo Robotics, a company backed by Bidra’s fund. “With the support of Bidra, UM6P and OCP Group, we continue to develop our robotic technology to benefit farmers in emerging markets that currently rely on outdated methods and manual labor.”
“Bidra shares our belief that soil analysis plays a vital role in the future of green farming,” said Rob Hranac, CEO of Pattern Ag. "We are eager to continue our work, expanding our reach ensuring our technology can benefit rural communities around the world with comprehensive macro and micronutrient analysis."
UM6P is a centre for learning, research, entrepreneurship, and innovation that works to establish partnerships with universities all around the world. The University's modernised approach to education is promoting the future of development in Africa and beyond via innovation and practise. The OCP Group is the biggest manufacturer of phosphate fertilisers in the world as well as a global leader in plant nutrition solutions.
“This fund will expand our investment in reducing the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry, while tackling the challenges of food security, urbanisation and industrialisation,” said Hicham El Habti, President of UM6P and Board Chair of Bidra. “Supporting Bidra’s efforts is part of UM6P’s commitment to investing in sustainable agriculture and the training of a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders, and positioning Morocco and Africa at the forefront of research and technology.”
Over the past year, Bidra has backed robotics used to reduce chemical volumes (Niqo Robotics), biopesticides for deadly insects in Africa (Agrospheres), soil biology and diagnostics technology to customize fertility recommendations (Pattern Ag), a digital store-front for Kenyan farmers to access crop inputs otherwise difficult to obtain (Apollo Agriculture), as well as electrochemical technology to permanently sequester carbon and produce sulfuric acid by recycling phosphogypsum.