The plant-based ingredient developer's series D round was co-led by GV and backed by Louis Dreyfus Company and Emart.

GV, a corporate venturing subsidiary of internet and technology conglomerate Alphabet, co-led a $150m series D round yesterday for Benson Hill, the US-based creator of a food development technology platform.

The round was co-led by food and agriculture-focused investment firm Wheatsheaf Group and included agricultural goods processor Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) and budget supermarket chain Emart.

Argonautic Ventures, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, GS Group, iSelect Fund, Fall Line Capital, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, Prolog Ventures and S2G Ventures filled out the round along with unnamed strategic and family office investors.

Benson Hill combines artificial intelligence and big data technology with biology to determine the best plant breeding methods, in theory facilitating the development of better plant-based foods and ingredients.

Max Clegg, head of LDC’s corporate venturing unit, LDC Innovations, said: “We are excited to contribute to the scale-up of Benson Hill’s work to advance a sustainable future of food by realising the value creation potential of technology-enabled innovation.

“The power of genomics and genetic diversity is largely untapped, and we believe that the company’s technology and collaborative model unlocks efficiencies and new product differentiation for stakeholders across the value chain, from farmers to end-consumers.”

The funding will support further development of the company’s technology along with the launch of products including varieties of soybean with extremely high protein content. Benson Hill has now raised approximately $244m since it was founded in 2012.

GV also led the company’s last round, a $60m series C in September 2018 that also featured Alexandria Venture Investments, the venture capital branch of real estate investment trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

The series C included Activant Capital, Tao Capital Partners and existing backers Fall Line Capital, iSelect Fund, Lewis & Clark Ventures, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures and S2G Ventures.

Benson Hill’s earlier investors include Cultivation Capital, Middleland Capital, Missouri Technology Corporation, TechAccel and Biogenerator.