Alumni-Founded Startup Phospholutions Announces $5.3M Investment

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumni-founded startup Phospholutions, a leader in sustainable fertilizer technology, recently announced an additional investment from leading global agricultural companies totaling $5.3 million. This funding will support the commercialization of their RhizoSorb (registered trademark) technology in the US row crop market.

This new investment series includes investments from Ospraie Ag Sciences (OAS), Bunge Ventures, Bunge’s global for-profit investment arm, and UPL Ltd. The round follows a $10.3 million Series A round announced early last year that allowed Phospholutions to more than triple in size. In addition, Phospholutions recently won a $250,000 investment during The Radicle Challenge from UPL.

Phospholutions founder and CEO Hunter Swisher began developing RhizoSorb as a student in Penn State’s plant science program. As part of an undergraduate research project, Swisher learned about the technology developed and patented by one of his professors. Seeing the market potential for the technology, he worked with Penn State’s Office of Technology Management to license the IP and launch Phospholutions.

“Our success and rapid growth would not be possible without the support and foundation that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Happy Valley provides to the community,” Swisher said. “Support is one of the reasons we keep our headquarters at Innovation Park.”

Phospholutions’ RhizoSorb is a soil improvement product using technology originally developed at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. With research showing that more than half of fertilizers applied to soil are never used by plants, RhizoSorb aims to naturally improve nutrient retention, increase plant uptake and ultimately reduce leaching and waste from phosphorus.

“This investment will help accelerate our commercial launch by supporting this year’s commercial trial program, strategic development partnerships and enabling the product to be delivered to the US row crop market for the 2023 growing season,” Swisher said.

In addition to this new investment series, Phospholutions also announced that Penn State alumnus Stefan Levitsky has joined the team as COO and VP of Sustainability. Levitsky has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions in leading food and agricultural companies.

“Supporting our shared global vision for a more sustainable future for agriculture drives us to strategically approach our investors who want to bring science-backed solutions to market to make a meaningful impact,” Levitsky said.

Late last year, Phospholutions was also selected as one of the first five companies selected for the Farm2050 food technology trial platform in New Zealand, organized by Finistere Ventures and Innovations Endeavors. New Zealand will join Canada, the US, Turkey, India, Brazil and Africa on the list of global RhizoSorb trial sites planned for 2022.

“RhizoSorb technology is closely aligned with our venture firm’s mission to do more with less,” commented Carl Casale of OAS. “Technology promotes increased profitability for producers and reduces environmental impact to contribute to a more sustainable future of agriculture.”

To learn more about Phospholutions and follow their journey, visit www.phospholutions.com or on LinkedIn.

About Invent Penn State

Invent Penn State is a statewide initiative to drive economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State combines entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business start-up training and incubation, commercialization funding, and university, community, and industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humanity.

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