The Yield Lab Latam, a prominent venture capital firm in Latin America, has expanded its footprint in Mexico with a recent investment in Solena AG. This Mexican firm, specializing in agricultural technology, has been dedicated to the study of the soil microbiome for five years, aiming to enhance the profitability of farmers.
The investment in Solena is part of a Series A round totaling USD $6 million, with YLL joining the investor group. This move reaffirms The Yield Lab Latam’s commitment to early-stage startups, especially in the AgriFoodTech niche.
Tomás Peña, the General Director of The Yield Lab Latam, expressed his confidence in Solena, highlighting Mexico as a crucial market due to its growth potential and access to top-tier crops. Moreover, he emphasized the increasing demand for traceability to ensure sustainability in production processes.
Looking to the future, The Yield Lab Latam focuses on sustainability and the evolution of the agri-food market. Camila Petignat, a partner at the firm, revealed that they’ve been tracking Solena since 2019, impressed by the founding team’s ability to adapt to market shifts. Their mission, Petignat pointed out, is to add value to the soil’s biological capital and support an increasingly sustainable agricultural system.
With a history of investing in 20 AgriFoodTech startups in Latin America and a database of 1,900 companies in the sector, The Yield Lab Latam has a broad understanding of the regional landscape. The recent investment in Solena supports the Mexican firm’s progress, as they plan to expand their AI-driven Prometheus platform threefold. This tool turns diagnostic data into valuable insights for customized agricultural treatments.
Irving Rivera, Solena AG’s co-founder, emphasized the company’s mission: to reduce the reliance on inorganic pesticides and empower farmers to improve soil health. Solena aims to revolutionize the agricultural industry by expanding understanding of the soil microbiome. “Additional funding will bring our vision closer to reality, opening a new horizon for agriculture,” Rivera said.
Solena’s innovative methodology, created by Rivera and Octavio González, unfolds in two stages. First, a genomic analysis of the soil measures the functionality of its organisms. Then, molecular markers are identified for each crop, leading to the prescription of optimal inputs to maintain and enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability.
Currently, Solena AG collaborates with food producers and agricultural input companies. Beyond Mexico and the US, they have extended their services to Peru, Brazil, Kenya, Morocco, and the Netherlands through partnerships with associated laboratories.
A 2022 report by Endeavor and Pepsico reveals that the sector has seen a dramatic increase in investment over the last decade, totaling USD $1.7 billion across 206 funding rounds. Notably, 2020 and 2021 account for 64% of all capital invested in the sector since 2011.