Israel-based agtech startup ILSAR, which specializes in growing truffles, has raised $5 million in a round led by AP Partners, which specializes in investments in small and medium sized Israeli product companies.
ILSAR plans to make up for the deficit by marketing the truffles it grows in partnership with orchard owners in the Golan Heights. By the end of this year, the company aims to cultivate up to 670 dunams (165 acres) and plant 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres) more throughout the decade. ILSAR developed a set of tests and evaluation standards, which the company refers to as its “standard of excellence” that help it track, monitor, and nurse the truffle lifecycle, maintaining ideal conditions at every step.
To date, only 15% of truffle cultivation endeavors successfully produce a dependable yield, a process that takes between five and eight years. In France, which is a major consumer of truffles, the retail cost for the delicacy ranges from $1,200 to $2,000 per kilogram and the price is expected to increase by nearly 20% every year.
The company, which was founded in 2011 by Yoel Givol (chairman), Nimrod Tabenkin (CEO) and Tal Monchase (CTO) had previously secured investments from private investors and from Titan Ventures, which specializes in early stage companies.
“The new funding will enable the company to carry on its vision and establish knowledge-intensive truffle growing capabilities in partnership with local farmers. The capital will be invested in research into new fields and in doing so leverage the existing developments and know-how to explore additional fields in the wondrous world of mushrooms,” Tabenkin said.
“The investment in ILSAR is another investment in agrotech and foodtech, areas that our fund is active in. We were impressed by the company’s breakthroughs and ability to grow the reare truffles that are enjoying huge demand with exponential growth,” said AP Partners’ managing partner Samuel Vlodinger.