Lewis & Clark AgriFood leads new growth investment in Brightseed to accelerate its exploration of the health benefits in the plant kingdom.
Brightseed’s unique AI technology reveals active compounds – phytonutrients – that are hidden in plants.
The company will use the new investment for the R&D and commercialization of clinically-proven, plant-based discoveries in the food & beverage, nutraceuticals, and supplement industries.
SAN FRANCISCO (September 15, 2020) – Brightseed, a 2020 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and developer of Forager®, the world’s first and only AI technology for phytonutrient discovery, has closed $27M in growth financing led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood. This new financing brings Brightseed’s total funding to $52M including $25M in previous funding from Seed 2 Growth Ventures, Horizons Ventures, CGC Ventures, Fifty Years, Germin8 Ventures, and AgFunder. David Russell of Lewis & Clark AgriFood will join Brightseed’s board of directors, in addition to Elaine Leavenworth, former SVP, and Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer at Abbott.
Brightseed has also enlisted a group of advisors, including:
Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo (PEP) and Board Director at Amazon (AMZN)
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist and professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
Dr. Bernhard van Lengerich, former CSO of General Mills and Board Member of Beyond Meat (BYND)
“We’re thrilled to work with visionary partners to accelerate innovation in food, health, and wellness,” said Dr. Jim Flatt, Brightseed co-Founder and CEO. “We’re in an unprecedented public health crisis, and people are looking for plant-based products that will contribute to a healthier life. With millions of phytonutrients hidden in plants, it’s crucial that we discover these compounds and understand how they help us. Much like mapping the human genome opened up a new era for medicine, using Forager® AI to map the connections between plants and people is one of the most exciting new frontiers of science.”
Brightseed’s new funding comes at a moment when the demand for plant-based health and wellness solutions is skyrocketing. Forager® is actively searching for compounds that provide proven health benefits, as well as searching for new benefits in existing plant-based products and ingredients.
“Brightseed’s application of technology is transforming how we understand the resources available for our health and well-being in nature,” said Dr. David Russell, Operating Partner at Lewis & Clark AgriFood. “These discoveries already have a major impact on how we’re formulating the things we consume every day. This is a new approach that provides a much deeper understanding of the connections between plants and human biology. We’re looking forward to supporting Brightseed in leading these breakthroughs.”
“Brightseed’s Forager® AI is leading the search for natural phytonutrients that will provide dramatic health benefits,” said Elaine Leavenworth. “Given today’s health crises this has even greater urgency. Brightseed has the strong support of their investors and advisors as they move forward on this path.”
This investment follows Brightseed’s debut discovery of a powerful phytonutrient with the potential to support metabolic health with profound implications for the two billion people worldwide who have or are at risk for chronic metabolic conditions including diabetes, weight management, and fatty liver disease. The Forager® platform also currently powers multiple partnerships with industry leaders, including Brightseed’s landmark, multi-phased partnership with Danone North America to find previously unknown health benefits of plant-based ingredients in Danone’s consumer products portfolio.
Plants produce phytonutrients to support their growth and protect against pathogens or predators. In humans, phytonutrients support health with anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective and neuroprotective activities. Examples of phytonutrients include resveratrol, which can be found in red grape skins, or lycopene, found in tomatoes. Less than one percent of the world’s phytonutrients have been identified.
Organizations interested in Brightseed can connect with the company by reaching out to [email protected].
# # #
Brightseed enables a healthier future by illuminating and activating the connections between people and plants. Despite centuries of wisdom proving the critical roles plants play in supporting human health, the vast majority of the active compounds – or phytonutrients – in the plant kingdom remain unexplored. Brightseed’s Forager® artificial intelligence reveals phytonutrients hidden in nature and the team scientifically validates their impact on human health and wellness. World-leading food, ingredient, and supplement companies are partnering with Brightseed to commercialize discoveries and bring the benefits of plants to the world. Founded in 2017 by Jim Flatt, PhD, Sofia Elizondo, and Lee Chae, PhD, Brightseed’s investors include Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Horizons Ventures, Seed 2 Growth Ventures, CGC Ventures, Germin8 Ventures, Fifty Years, and AgFunder.
ABOUT LEWIS & CLARK AGRIFOOD
Lewis & Clark AgriFood is a St. Louis based food and agriculture focused investment firm concentrated on investing in growth stage businesses. Their seasoned investment team brings a breadth of quality sector experience to every investment. Lewis & Clark AgriFood works with entrepreneurs through active board participation to ensure entrepreneurs reach scale. To learn more, visit www.lewisandclark agrifood.com.
Director of Brand Marketing, Brightseed
914-646-1985 | [email protected]
Serene Buckley or Michelle Masek
Good Nature Ventures
415-613-1580 | 650-303-6260