We put out a press release today that we’d successfully crossed a major bridge in the startup life of EcoPesticides. It felt so good saying it, that we’re saying it again: we successfully closed our Series A Round, raising $400,000.
A year ago, that amount seemed huge. We thought it might take more than a year to get there. Fortunately, our initial investment round got off to a strong start with investments by the New Mexico Startup Factory, an affiliate of the New Mexico Angels; the New Mexico Angels; the University of New Mexico Co-investment Fund; and a private venture firm based in Nevada. Suffice it to say the interest in our biologic-based pesticides and proprietary, performance-enhancing encapsulation technology has been strong.
Driving demand for green alternatives are two things: Crop losses to insect pests run in the billions of dollars each year and a growing concern on the part of governments, companies, farmers, and regular folks over the ill effects of chemical pesticides on global health and the environment. What’s cool – and ultimately sustainable – about our approach is that EcoPesticides uses naturally occurring bacteria and fungi proven lethal to specifically targeted insect pests. (Think the very hungry grasshopper.) The living biologic material is encapsulated in natural biopolymers as protection from UV rays and environmental conditions, thus extending the potency and performance of the product. Our products are intended to do no harm to people, animals, beneficial insects such as honeybees, or the environment.
Technology like ours can’t come soon enough. A recent study estimates insect-related crop losses in Brazil of $17 billion annually. Desert locusts recently destroyed more than $2.5 billion of crops in Africa.
So how are we using the proceeds of our Series A Round? It’s allowing us to accelerate our development efforts at our lab operations in Santa Fe and continue to identify strategic partners interested in licensing our technology or funding our next round.