Carlow cleantech company Microgen Biotech raises $3.8m

Company has developed technology to ensure better food safety and soil health


Carlow-based company MicroGen Biotech has raised $3.8 million (€3.47 million) in a funding round led by a number of top US and European agtech investors.

The financing brings total funding to date to $8.5 million.

Founded as a spin-out from IT Carlow by Xuemie Germaine in 2012, the company has developed technology to ensure better food safety and soil health.

Its proprietary microbiome technology blocks the uptake of heavy metals by crops on land that has been contaminated. Its products work directly on the soil to break down pollutants and support the growth of good bacteria to restore sites to fertile land.

In addition to being of interest to the agrifood sector, MicroGen’s solutions can also be used elsewhere, such as by fossil fuel companies looking to restore sites.

The company, which has been largely focused on the Chinese market to date, has successfully registered two of its solutions with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and is now working with partners to roll-out the solutions there.

It also counts Europe and North America as key growth markets and is currently in negotiations with a number of growers and global food brands who are keen to reduce the level of heavy metals in foods.

The latest fundraise was led by Kansas-based Fulcrum Global Capital, which last month closed a $36 million agrifoodtech fund.

Galway-based Yield Lab Europe, an accelerator that last year announced a €21 million fund, also participated as did Enterprise Ireland and the Silicon Valley-based venture-capital firm, which emerged from the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG).

“We are very excited to successfully complete this round and look forward to the next stage of the company’s growth,” said Ms Germaine,” who spend a number of year working for Pfizer and Wyeth before setting up MicroGen.

“We are now in a position to scale by strengthening our senior management team, closing contracts in our sales funnel, expanding production capacity, and investing in technology innovation and product development,” she added.