Insect Control AgTech Startup Raises $1M

Impetus Agriculture emerges from stealth mode and secures $1 Million in seed financing to advance enhanced biological insect control solutions with round led by BioGenerator and The Yield Lab.

Impetus Agriculture has closed a $1 million follow-on equity investment seed round to continue development of a platform technology delivering proteins that enhance biological insect control. The company has demonstrated in the laboratory an ability to enhance the control of multiple economically important insects with multiple proteins.

A co-development agreement is in place with a major multi-national agricultural company to advance the first concepts through product development and commercialization.  “The Impetus platform technology allows for the development of a library of biological insect control solutions with enhanced performance to meet grower and consumer demand for new and effective sustainable solutions,” said Dr. Martha Schlicher, CEO, Impetus Agriculture, Inc., and BioGenerator Executive in Residence. 

The company was founded in 2017 by the corporate venture arm of KWS, BioGenerator, and The Yield Lab to advance new products in the field of biological insect control. Impetus has worked collaboratively with the laboratory of Dr. Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes, a highly regarded Professor of Insect Physiology at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, to advance the initial concept to practice.  

“Having incubated this exciting company as it progressed under the leadership of Dr. Schlicher, we are pleased to announce this follow-on investment,” said Charlie Bolten, Senior Vice President of BioGenerator and head of BioGenerator Ventures.  “The Impetus platform has enormous potential to safely address insect pressure across many agricultural applications.” 

This new funding supports the testing of additional insects and proteins against the Impetus library for both new topical and transgenic insect control solutions. In addition to BioGenerator Ventures and The Yield Lab Global Opportunity Fund, participating in this round were St. Louis Arch Angels, Centennial Investors, Missouri Technology Corporation, and the University of Missouri Allen Angel Capital Education Fund.  

This funding additionally provided for the acquisition of the KWS intellectual property and for expansion of Impetus’ capabilities. Dr. Brian McNulty joins Impetus as its Chief Technology Officer from Bayer and will be establishing laboratories in the 39 North Agtech Innovation District. Dr. McNulty brings research and commercial development experience in insect control technologies from his 15 years at Bayer, Monsanto, and Athenix.

Impetus additionally benefits from the insights of Dr. Ganesh Kishore, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Spruce Capital Partners. He brings his distinguished track record of accomplishments in biotechnology research and development to provide insights as both a Board and Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) member.   

Dr. Leigh English, retired from Monsanto as the Biotechnology Business Director, also serves on the SAB and commented, “This technology has the opportunity to create novel insect control products for growers around the globe. The need for new products will remain as long as there are insects both competing for human and animal food materials.”

“An end to the insect’s ability to develop resistance to insect control products is not at all likely, so the rapid discovery of new insecticidal agents will always be required. The Impetus platform has the potential to be a “printing press” of new biological actives.”