Yara invests in Boomitra to advance soil carbon capture
22 June 2021, Europe: Boomitra announced today a seed investment of $4 million USD led by Yara Growth Ventures – the newly launched venture investing division of Yara International ASA. Erkki Aaltonen, the head of Yara Growth Ventures, will also join Boomitra’s board of directors.
Boomitra is a Silicon Valley based startup working to accelerate atmospheric carbon removal using agricultural soil and doing it from anywhere in the world. The team has developed a way to measure and monitor carbon levels in the soil using artificial intelligence-based algorithms without the need to take a physical soil sample. This has the potential to enable the expansion of the entire carbon market industry, since the current soil carbon measurement practices include sending people out to a farmer’s field to take soil samples then quantifying the samples in a lab. A process that is both costly and time consuming.
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“Something holding back the carbon markets in agriculture is how expensive and laborious it is to certify credits in a field,” says Erkki Aaltonen, head of Yara Growth Ventures. “Boomitra’s remote technology and marketplace have the opportunity to categorically change the way agri-carbon credits are monitored, packaged, and sold. All while enabling small holder farmers with as few as two hectares to make money while sequestering carbon. We’re proud to help the team scale in this next phase of their journey.”
Given the remote nature of Boomitra’s solution, the team can now measure nearly any field, even those as small as two hectares. This means that farmers in markets like India and Mexico who would otherwise be shut out of carbon markets because of their field sizes (which make regular soil samples prohibitively expensive) are now able to participate in this part of the agri-sustainability revolution.
The team at Yara’s own Agoro Carbon Alliance were part of the Boomitra evaluation process. Alex Bell, CEO of Agoro, said, “I have been impressed with Boomitra’s promising remote sensing tech. We look forward to continuing the conversations about how to partner and collaborate.”
Joining Yara Growth Ventures in this funding round are Chevron Technology Ventures, Jerry Yang – the co-founder of Yahoo! -, and Tom Steyer – the US based billionaire sustainability investor. Yara Growth Ventures looks forward to working alongside the other investors and Boomitra’s management to help advance the company’s mission.
“This investment is just the beginning for Boomitra,” says founder Aadith Moorthy. “The funding provides us with the financial resources and strategic partners to really move the needle on carbon sequestration. It’s a chance for us to flip the script from agriculture being a net producer of carbon to a net carbon sink.”