Agritech startup attracts investment from global companies • St Pete Catalyst

Agritech company Phospholutions, a sustainable fertilizer startup that recently opened a hub in St. Petersburg, has received an additional investment for its new product.

Phospholutions announced this week that the funding includes investments from Ospraie Ag Sciences (OAS), Bunge Ventures, the for-profit global investment arm of Bunge (NYSE: BG), and UPL Ltd. The amount of the total investment was not disclosed.

Phospholutions previously raised $10.3 million in a Series A round in 2021. The round was led by the Continental Grain Company’s CGC Ventures. Other investors include Maumee Ventures, Tekfen Ventures, the Ag Ventures Alliance Cooperative and 1855 Capital.

The new funds will allow Phospholutions to commercialize its RhizoSorb product in the US crop market. Phospholutions claims the product is the first patented fertilizer additive proven to reduce phosphorus fertilizer applications by 50% without compromising yield.

It works by releasing nutrients based on a chemical gradient in the soil, leading to better availability throughout the season. It has been tested on row crops including corn, soybean, wheat, barley, sunflower, chickpea, rice and turfgrass, according to Phospholutions.

“Conventional fertilizers are inefficient as less than 25% of phosphorus is taken up by the crop during the growing season. With recent increases in fertilizer prices and supply constraints in key global markets, farmers urgently need proven solutions to help maximize the return on input costs,” Phospholutions CEO Hunter Swisher said in a statement. “This investment helps accelerate our commercial launch by supporting this year’s commercial trial program, strategic development partnerships, and enables the product to be delivered to the US row crop market for the 2023 growing season.”

The State College, Pennsylvania-based startup’s clients include large phosphorous producers as well as farmers. The startup has a business-to-business sales model. It sells the product directly to producers to incorporate it into their production process, which results in higher efficiency fertilizer, and it is then sold through the channels, making its way to the farmers.

Swisher opened the St. Pete hub at 360 Central Ave. earlier this year for many factors, including retaining talent and the environmental impacts the region is facing.

In addition to the funding news, Phospholutions also took the opportunity to announce that Stephan Levitsky joined the team as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Sustainability. Levitsky has more than 20 years of senior executive experience in leading food and agricultural companies.

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