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Agritech platform Rize raises US$14 mil in Series A round co-led by Temasek

Jovi Ho
Jovi Ho • 3 min read
Agritech platform Rize raises US$14 mil in Series A round co-led by Temasek
Temasek, GenZero, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Wavemaker Impact first introduced the joint venture in October 2022. Photo: Rize
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Sustainable rice cultivation agritech platform Rize has raised US$14 million ($18.97 million) in a Series A round co-led by Temasek, GenZero, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Wavemaker Impact.

In a May 9 statement, Rize says the investment will enhance its technology stack, including its measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) technology and support further expansion into Indonesia, Vietnam and across South and Southeast Asia.

Rize’s technology stack captures vital agricultural data essential for implementing sustainable farming practices. According to the company, this makes rice farmers more climate resilient, while increasing their crop yields, lowering costs and facilitating their access to finance. 

The fundraising round advances Rize's goal to eliminate 100 metric tonnes of carbon emissions while improving farmer livelihoods. 

The funds will enable Rize to expand its operations deeper into Indonesia and Vietnam and help strengthen its team of agronomists to over 100 by the end of 2024, potentially reaching over 20,000 farmers. Rize also has plans to expand into other rice producing South and Southeast Asian countries in 2025. 

Traditional rice cultivation methods, often involving water-saturated paddies, are a significant source of methane emissions, according to Rize. “This age-old practice of flooding the fields restricts oxygen flow, creating an ideal environment for methane-producing bacteria.”

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With sustainable farming practices like alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and direct seeding rice (DSR), Rize aims to reduce water usage by 20%, methane emissions by 50% and improve farmer incomes by up to 30%.

Rice farming accounts for 10% of global methane emissions, says Dhruv Sawhney, CEO of Rize. This figure is set to rise if unchecked, he adds. “Another hurdle is the lack of precise data, particularly among the numerous smallholder farms across South and Southeast Asia, as well as the increasingly high cost of farming due to increased input prices and a changing climate. Our technology stack seeks to tackle these challenges.”

Producing a single bowl of rice requires over 200 litres of fresh water, says Sawhney. “Considering that the entire rice industry accounts for more than a third of the world's irrigation water, the urgency to adopt sustainable methods is clear.”

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The four lead investors first introduced the joint venture in October 2022, before announcing the launch of Rize in June 2023.

Global rice demand is projected to double by 2050, says Carmichael Roberts, business lead of Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ investment committee. “Rize’s data-driven technology and expert team of agronomists are a powerful combination for tackling this challenge and scaling viable sustainable rice farming across Asia and globally.”

“We are proud to continue our investment in Rize, says Marie Cheong, founding partner, Wavemaker Impact. “The outcomes that Rize achieved in the last 18 months is testament to the robustness of its collective value proposition and business model. With this round of capital injection, we have every confidence in Dhruv and team to scale the adoption of sustainable farming techniques across the region, scaling the impact of decarbonisation and livelihood improvement of smallholder farms.”

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