Qarbotech, a Malaysia-based agritech startup, announced Monday that it has raised $700,000 in seed funding and grants.

The round was led by multi-stage venture capital firm, 500 Global, and includes innovation grants from the Temasek Foundation for winning the Climate Impact Innovations Challenge 2023, and Khazanah Nasional’s Dana Impak for winning the Khazanah Impact Innovation Challenge (KIIC) 2023, Qarbotech said in a statement.

With this round of financing, Qarbotech said it will make significant investments in strengthening their research and development, and expand its manufacturing facility to produce up to 50 times its current capacity to serve farmers and growers in new markets across Southeast Asia.

“As the industry’s most accessible photosynthesis enhancer, we are pioneering a new and disruptive solution that will reshape conventional approaches to farming,

“The strategic support from our investors propels us towards scalable growth, but more importantly, allows us to empower more farmers around the world to feed the rest of us,” said Chor Chee Hoe, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Qarbotech.

Qarbotech is a sustainability and green tech company that is committed to using technology to make a positive impact on the world.

The company’s flagship product, QarboGrow, is a revolutionary photosynthesis enhancement technology that helps farmers increase crop yields while reducing their environmental impact.

Qarbotech’s patented photosynthesis enhancement nanotechnology is an on-plant or in-soil solution that boosts agricultural productivity – increasing crop yields by up to 60 percent.

The company’s unique formulation contains biocompatible organic compounds with properties similar to chlorophyll, thus increasing the photosynthesis rate of leafy plants.

By optimizing photosynthetic efficiency and shortening growth cycles, farmers and growers of all sizes can enhance their crop yield.

“Qarbotech’s journey, from the labs of the university to the fields of commercial farms, shows the transformative power that research and innovation can have in our lives,

“This milestone not only signifies Qarbotech’s commitment to driving positive change through science, but is also a proud moment for Universiti Putra Malaysia, where our groundbreaking research took root and flourished,” said Dr. Suraya Abdul Rashid, Chief Scientist and Founder of Qarbotech, and Deputy Director at Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

According to the statement, the population in Southeast Asia is estimated to grow by 12 percent, from 670 million in 2020 to 750 million by 2035.

It said this population surge and climate volatility are expected to drive a 40 percent increase in food demand by 2050.

It also noted that limited agricultural resources, widespread land degradation, and diminishing arable land caused by urbanization and industrialization in the region pose a threat to food production.

It opined that Qarbotech’s technology is essential for farmers to grow more with less arable land.

“Agriculture is an industry that’s ripe for investments,

“When we have the privilege to meet a team that’s catalyzing a step change for farmers, we back them,” Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Global.

“Qarbotech’s technology has exciting potential to solve the global food security challenge of the world’s growing population, of which about 30 percent do not have food security,

“We believe that when Qarbotech wins, these 2.3 billion people win too,” he added.

Malaysia’s JCorp invests $1.74 million into Singapore-based agritech firm Archisen