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Decoding the Soil - Biome Makers Leads the Way in Sustainable Agriculture

  • Biome Maker's BeCrop utilizes DNA sequencing and advanced computing to provide detailed insights into the soil's microbiome.
  • Expand their global reach with customers across 4 continents and over 1 million acres of land impacted.
  • In 2023, Biome Makers expanded to new headquarters in Davis, California—what Greater Sacramento called the Global AgTech Hub of the world.

As demands for higher crop yields and lower risks of disease increase, understanding the microbiome in the soil sustainably would yield better and healthier crops. This is where Biome Makers steps in, dedicating itself to improving soil health

From Sparing Partners to Business Partners

Founders Adrián Ferrero and Alberto Acedo met when they were 5 years old at a Judo class in Spain. Their friendship and shared passion for sustainability gave birth to Biome Makers in 2015.

Biome Makers, now a global AgTech leader, acts as the 23andMe for soil, using DNA sequencing and “intelligent computing” to analyze the microscopic world within the soil.

With their range of soil testing products and AI analysis, farmers receive detailed input on the health and capabilities of their soil, allowing them to adopt sustainable and economical accordingly.

Biome Makers originally started in the wine industry, testing microbial species in the soil of vineyards and offering guidance to improve the quality and yield of grapes.

However, on realizing how underestimated soil science is, Adrián and Alberto decided to expand and spread their work to different fields; because it is now that we need to bring our focus to soil health and its impact on food production.

With conventional crop farming, which relies on heavy tillage and liberal use of chemicals, the soil is treated as an industrial material rather than an organic, living thing.

“Our vision is to build a global soil dataset that allows us to partner with the industry to support the development of new biological products for unsolved problems in agriculture,” specifies Biome Maker CEO Adrián Ferrero.

Biome Maker's range of solutions

Biome Makers offers three solutions or production testing services;

  • BeCrop Test - Soil samples are added to a testing kit provided. These soil samples are tested, and an analysis of their biological makeup and a thorough report on the soil's health is sent back.
  • BeCrop Trials - Initially called Gheom, this service analyses how soil reacts to different fertilizers, allowing farmers to compare and understand what works better and what doesn't.
  • BeCrop Rate - Launched in 2022, this is a sustainability metric that allows farmers to measure and track the remarkable improvements in soil health and biodiversity.

Reaping what was sowed

They received an initial funding of $2 million in 2016 from a group of international investors, including Illumina, a leader in DNA sequencing.

In 2019, Biome Makers secured a $4 million Series A round, led by tech-focused VCs to expand their footprint in the US, Europe, and Latin America.

In 2021, they raised $15 million in a Series B round led by Prosus Ventures, bringing their total funding to $23 million helping further development of their products making 2022 impactful.

This funding has fueled Biome Makers' growth leading to partnerships with leading organizations like Syngenta, UPL Ltd, and the Vanguard OTE Consortium advancing their sustainable agriculture practices and soil health research.

2024 so far

  • Biome Makers's soil database surpassed 24 million microorganisms, a feat that helps expand its database of soil data that it pairs with artificial intelligence.
  • Recognized by Fast Company's list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2024, Biome Makers ranked fourth in Agriculture.
  • The company has also been validated Agriculture by two scientific studies affirming the efficacy of its BeCrop soil intelligence technology.

Edited By Annette George