Home » Swedish Startup OlsAro Secures $2.7 Million for Salt-Tolerant Wheat

Swedish Startup OlsAro Secures $2.7 Million for Salt-Tolerant Wheat

by Victor Adeyemi
  • Swedish company OlsAro gets a major funding boost of $2.7 million. 
  • The funding will be used to further develop an innovative wheat variety that can yield up to 52% higher than existing options.  
  • With this climate-smart wheat, OlsAro is charting the path for a more secure and sustainable way to solve the problem of food insecurity. 

OlsAro, a Swedish startup developing wheat that can handle tough environmental conditions, has raised $2.7 million to develop its climate-smart crop breeding platform.  

The company plans to use the capital to expand its team and bring its first product, a salt-tolerant wheat variety, to market. Field trials in Bangladesh have shown this wheat to deliver significantly higher yields than existing varieties in saline soil environments.

Jane Doe, CEO of OlsAro, expressed her excitement about the investment and its potential impact on agriculture. “Our platform has the potential to transform agriculture by making it possible to cultivate crops previously deemed unsuitable for farming,” she said. 

“We are thrilled to receive this investment, which will allow us to expand our research and development efforts,” she added. 

Problem Addressed by OlsAro

Soil salinity is a challenge to global food security. While there has been some research on salt-tolerant rice, there are “not many valid commercial options on the wheat side,” OlsAro’s CEO, Faxö claims. 

When salts accumulate, plants struggle to take in water effectively. The result is stunted growth, reduced yields, and even complete crop failure. 

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OlsAro’s Solution

OlsAro’s first commercial product is a salt-tolerant wheat variety successfully tested in Bangladesh. Field trials have shown that this wheat can yield up to 52% more grain than other options currently available in the region. 

The company’s approach combines traditional breeding methods with modern technology to accelerate the development of climate-smart crops. 

Additionally, OlsAro analyzes genetic data to identify traits that make crops more adaptable to drought, heat, and other environmental stresses.

According to Faxö, the company is also working on developing crops that are more heat-tolerant with improved nitrogen efficiency. The purpose is to reduce dependence on synthetic fertilisers. 

Funding Details  

  • Raised: €2.5M  
  • Funding Month: April 2024 
  • Lead Investors: Future Food Fund, PINC 
  • Additional Investors: AgFunder, Flora Ventures, Mudcake 

The Business Model 

OlsAro doesn’t sell seeds directly to farmers. Instead, they act as a  “seed pre-breeder”. This means they develop new crop varieties with specific traits, like salt tolerance in wheat, and then licence these improved seeds to established seed companies. 

The advantage is their focus and expertise in breeding salt-tolerant crops and partnership with established seed companies that have vast networks of farmers. 

Furthermore, the potential for OlsAro technology goes beyond wheat. The company is looking to see if the genes they identified for salt tolerance in wheat can also be applied to other crops, especially grains.  

About OlsAro 

Founded in 2013 by Henrik Aronsson and Olof Olsson, OlsAro is an agritech company focusing on the development of wheat varieties resilient to climate stresses like salt, heat, and drought.

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