Startup raises $18M in funding


Kalamazoo-based Vestaron develops bio-insecticides for the agriculture industry. Photo via

A startup developing bio-insecticides for the agriculture industry has closed an $18-million round of financing.

Kalamazoo-based Vestaron Corporation said yesterday that it will introduce its first product before the first quarter of 2017, following completion of an oversubscribed Series D round of financing totaling $18 million.

The financing was completely funded by Vestaron’s existing investors.

"Vestaron's recent traction with growers, academics and major agri-chem companies has driven an intense level of investor enthusiasm," said Keith Gillard, chairman, Vestaron, who's a general partner of Pangaea Ventures, which is an investor in the company.

Vestaron plans to use its investment to expand its research and development on new bio-insecticides, synthetic molecules derived from those insecticides and plant-incorporated insecticides.

“This funding should get Vestaron to positive net cash flow," said John Sorenson, president and CEO, Vestaron.


Vestaron said its first bio-insecticide product, SPEAR-T, performs with comparable efficiency to synthetic insecticides, while maintaining the environmental impact of a biological one.

"We're proud of our progress in making SPEAR a commercial reality,” Sorenson said.

Two additional products utilizing the same active ingredient used in SPEAR are scheduled to be introduced later in 2017.


Vestaron specializes in developing bio-insecticides using naturally occurring peptides, which the company said have potent insect potential, but are “safe” for humans, birds, fish and the environment.

The company is backed by a number of investors: Open Prairie, SWMF Life Science Fund, Pangaea Ventures, Cultivian Sandbox, Anterra Capital, Michigan Accelerator Fund I, Pure Michigan, Grand Angels, Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center and Capital Community Angel Investors.

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