Daily Markup #890: Qarbotech lands US$700K to boost crop yields for farmers and increase food security for the rest of us, and more from this week

Photo credit: TechNode Global

A growth spurt

  • Southeast Asia’s population is estimated to grow to 750 million by 2035. This population growth and climate change is expected to fuel an increase in food demand by 40%.
  • However, limited agricultural resources, widespread land degradation, and diminishing arable land caused by urbanisation and industrialization in the region pose a threat to food production.
  • Rising to support farmers to grow more with less arable land is agritech startup Qarbotech, which raised US$700,000 in seed funding led by 500 Global, and grants from Temasek Foundation and Khazanah Nasional.
  • The company’s flagship product, QarboGrow, is a photosynthesis enhancer that helps farmers increase crop yields while reducing their environmental impact.
  • With the fresh funds, the team said they will make significant investments in strengthening their research and development, and expand their manufacturing facility to produce up to 50x its current capacity to serve farmers and growers in new markets across Southeast Asia.
  • Qarbotech’s patented photosynthesis enhancement nanotechnology is an on-plant or in-soil solution that boosts agricultural productivity – increasing crop yields by up to 60%. The company’s unique formulation contains biocompatible organic compounds with properties similar to chlorophyll, thus increasing the photosynthesis rate of leafy plants.
  • “As the industry’s most accessible photosynthesis enhancer, we are pioneering a new and disruptive solution that will reshape conventional approaches to farming,” shared Chee Hoe Chor, Co-founder & CEO.
  • “Agriculture is an industry that’s ripe for investments. When we have the privilege to meet a team that’s catalyzing a step change for farmers, we back them. Qarbotech’s technology has exciting potential to solve the global food security challenge of the world’s growing population, of which about 30% do not have food security. We believe that when Qarbotech wins, these 2.3 billion people win too.” – Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Global.
  • Read the full story on TechNode Global.

Other stories you may have missed:

  • JALA nets US$13.1M to help more shrimp farmers across Indonesia run their ponds productively and sustainably
  • Khailee on how government-linked companies and UHNW families can contribute to universal basic innovation
  • Retailo bags US$15M to empower retailers and restaurants in Saudi Arabia with tools for greater efficiency at scale
  • Dagangan’s Wilson Yanaprasetya shares how the human connection is solving the digital divide in rural Indonesia
  • Aerodyne Founder & Group CEO Kamarul A Muhamed was recognized as The TIE x KPMG South East Asia High Impact Entrepreneur of the Year 2023
  • Elevarm won the sustainable investment award at the Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ) 2023 Private Equity Awards in Hong Kong
  • amalan introduced Shariah-compliant smart loan consolidation program “Kredit Bijak Karyawan” to provide access to more affordable loans in Indonesia
  • Storyhunter rebrands as Glimmer and announces an expansion into more than 60 creative services
  • Laka was awarded the ‘Best Cycle Insurance Provider’ in the Insurance Choice Awards, run by Smart Money People for the 6th year in a row
  • KROSSLINKER was selected as one of the domain winners and Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) challenge winners at SLINGSHOT2023
  • ZaynFi expands to Coinbase’s Base network, opening access to Base for the 2 billion Muslim market


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