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Bio-pesticide startup raises $4M

November 6, 2014
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Bio-pesticide startup catches EPA approval
Kalamazoo-based Vestaron Corporation develops bio-pesticides for the agriculture industry. Photo via

A startup developing a bio-pesticide for the agriculture industry has concluded its “oversubscribed” Series C financing round by raising $4 million.

Vestaron Corporation in Kalamazoo said last week that the funding brings its Series C total to $14 million, after the startup raised $10 million in the round this summer.

Anterra Capital in Amsterdam added the $4 million to the round.

Anterra Capital is jointly funded by Moonray Investors, an investment arm of FIL Limited, which is the parent company of Fidelity Worldwide Investment, and Rabo Private Equity, the private equity branch of Rabobank.

The Series C round was initially led by investor Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.

Watchful investor

Philip Austin, a partner at Anterra Capital, said the venture capital firm has watched Vestaron for several years and felt the timing was right to make an investment in the company.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Vestaron,” Austin said. “The commercialization of their first product is proving that natural peptides can be a valuable source of novel insecticides, providing farmers with a crop-protection tool that has the power of chemicals with the safety profile of biologicals.”

John Sorenson, CEO of Vestaron, said Anterra Capital’s perspective will be greatly valued on the board and its experience in the food and agricultural industry will be invaluable as Vestaron moves forward.

“I’m very pleased to welcome Anterra to the Vestaron team,” Sorenson said. “We’re overwhelmed to have attracted so much interest from the international venture capital community.”


The oversubscribed Series C financing round had a number of investors: Anterra Capital, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Southwest Michigan First Life Science Venture Fund, Open Prairie Ventures, Pangaea Ventures and Michigan Accelerator Fund.

Spider toxins

Vestaron focuses on the production of naturally occurring and “environmentally safe” insecticides for farmers and has invested in developing a product using a peptide found in spider toxins.

Non-toxic to mammals, the naturally occurring chemical is effective in protecting high-value vegetables against insects, such as caterpillars and beetles.

Vestaron, founded in 2005, received U.S Environmental Protection Agency approval earlier this winter and said then that it hopes to begin its product launch in 2015.

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