Agtech startup Phytelligence, a Washington State University spinout using genetic analysis and sterile growing environments to improve the quality and volume of fruit tree rootstocks and provide other services to farmers, has raised $6.95 million in the first closing of a Series B funding round.
Spokane, WA-based Cowles Company led the investment, with participation from WRF Capital. The company says the funding round could grow to $16 million total, later this summer.
The funding will support expanded production, and “research for developing, owning, and commercializing new rootstock and varieties of apples, cherries, pears, and grapes to further meet the needs of growers and consumers,” according to a news release.
The company, founded in 2012 by WSU associate professor of horticulture genomics and biotechnology Amit Dhingra, is headquartered in the Seattle area, where it has an 8-acre greenhouse, with research and development offices in Pullman, WA, and Portland, OR, where it operates a tissue-culture production facility. The company has 70 employees.
Its earlier financial backers include angel investors from Keiretsu Forum Northwestand Element 8, though the majority of the company’s initial funding round came from individual investors from the Northwest tree fruit industry.