SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bidra Innovation Ventures (Bidra) is proud to announce a $200M commitment by Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the OCP Group. The initiative will expand Bidra's investment scope to include innovations in energy, water, mining and agriculture. This latest round of funding comes one year after Bidra launched a $50M fund backed by the same investors focused on agriculture. This additional $200M is on top of the $50M that’s already funded.
"UM6P recognizes the role innovation must play to sustainably solve global challenges,” said Amar Singh, Head of Group, Bidra Innovation Ventures. “We are grateful for UM6P’s visionary leadership and support as we continue to back innovators forging the future via sustainable technologies for Africa and beyond. Having OCP’s support is a tremendous advantage because now we can extend OCP’s regional know-how and distribution capacity to startups that are ready to scale.”
In December 2022, OCP Group announced a green investment strategy with a $13B commitment over the next four years to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2040.
“If you have technology that is ready for prime-time, consider Bidra as a gateway to scaling your technology in Africa and beyond,” Singh said.
Companies backed by Bidra not only benefit from the financial resources of UM6P and the OCP Group, but also the organizations’ domain expertise and expansive global footprint. Talent, customer, capital – these are the three inputs that every founder is looking for. Bidra, UM6P and OCP can assist on all three.
“At Niqo Robotics, we are pioneering a sustainable revolution in agriculture through AI powered agricultural robots. Our proprietary green on green spot spray robots use real time AI assisted computer vision to selectively spray chemicals on plants resulting in up to 60% chemical savings and limiting the environmental impact of excess chemical usage,” said Jaisimha Rao, Founder and CEO of Niqo Robotics, a company backed by Bidra’s fund. “With the support of Bidra, UM6P and OCP Group, we continue to develop our robotic technology to benefit farmers in emerging markets that currently rely on outdated methods and manual labor.”
“Bidra shares our belief that soil analysis plays a vital role in the future of green farming,” said Rob Hranac, CEO of Pattern Ag. "We are eager to continue our work, expanding our reach ensuring our technology can benefit rural communities around the world with comprehensive macro and micronutrient analysis."
UM6P is a hub for education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship, working to build collaborations with universities around the world. Through experimentation and practice, the University’s modernized approach to education is fostering the future of development across Africa and beyond. The OCP Group is a global leader in plant nutrition solutions and the world's largest producer of phosphate fertilizers.
“This fund will expand our investment in reducing the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry, while tackling the challenges of food security, urbanization and industrialization,” said Hicham El Habti, President of UM6P and Board Chair of Bidra. “Supporting Bidra’s efforts is part of UM6P’s commitment to investing in sustainable agriculture and the training of a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders, and positioning Morocco and Africa at the forefront of research and technology.”
Over the past year, Bidra has backed robotics used to reduce chemical volumes (Niqo Robotics), biopesticides for deadly insects in Africa (Agrospheres), soil biology and diagnostics technology to customize fertility recommendations (Pattern Ag), a digital store-front for Kenyan farmers to access crop inputs otherwise difficult to obtain (Apollo Agriculture), as well as electrochemical technology to permanently sequester carbon and produce sulfuric acid by recycling phosphogypsum (Travertine).
ABOUT BIDRA INNOVATION VENTURES
Bidra Innovation Ventures is a $250M venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California and Ben Guerir, Morocco. Backed by UM6P and The OCP Group, Bidra invests in sustainable technologies for Africa and beyond. Bidra is stage-agnostic and also invests in other GPs active in energy, water, mining, and agriculture sectors.
ABOUT Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P)
The Mohammed VI Polytechnic University is a hub of education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship, aspiring to become a solid bridge of knowledge between Morocco, Africa and the world.
Located in the "Mohammed VI Green City" in Benguerir, near Marrakech, with branches in Rabat and Laayoune, UM6P applies a "learning by doing" approach and develops sound partnerships with world-wide class universities, to promote leadership and training in focused research areas.
By contributing to the training of a new generation of researchers, entrepreneurs and leaders, UM6P is committed to positioning Morocco and Africa at the forefront of technology and human Sciences.
ABOUT OCP GROUP
The OCP Group helps feed a growing world population by providing it with essential elements for soil fertility and plant growth. With a century of expertise and a turnover of 9.4 billion dollars in 2021, the OCP Group is a global leader in plant nutrition solutions and the world's largest producer of phosphate fertilizers. The Group offers a wide range of specialty phosphate fertilizers, adapted to enrich the soil, and increase agricultural yields to feed a growing world population efficiently and sustainably.
Based in Morocco, and present on 5 continents, the OCP Group works closely with more than 350 clients around the world. Committed in particular to serving the environmental and social development of Africa, the OCP Group places innovation at the heart of its strategy, to expand and strengthen sustainable agriculture on the continent. The Group is firmly convinced that leadership and profitability go hand in hand with social responsibility and sustainable development. Its strategic vision is at the intersection of those two dimensions.