Fertilizer Startup Pivot Bio Shows Deep-Tech Investing Can Yield Social Benefits, VC Backer Says

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Agricultural technology startup Pivot Bio this week raised $430 million to accelerate the commercialization of its innovation: microbial products that prompt crops to self-fertilize, letting farmers do without conventional fertilizers that cause environmental damage.

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are widely used to boost crop yields, but they cause greenhouse-gas emissions and are associated with water contamination and other environmental harms. Pivot Bio has developed microbes that react to crops’ nutritional needs to convert…