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What's going on?

Plant-tech firm Benson Hill announced over the weekend that it’d list on the stock market via a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), unless it engineers the technology to make money grow on trees in the meantime.

What does this mean?

With global population growth showing no signs of slowing down, and the world’s stomachs rumbling for plant-based meat alternatives, it’s never been more important to be able to create perfect agricultural conditions. Enter Benson Hill, whose platform uses machine learning, simulations, and genetics to develop breeds of crops that mature faster, have higher protein content, or just taste a lot better than the real thing. And since the company’s expecting the plant-based meat segment to be worth $140 billion by 2029, it’s decided to merge with a SPAC, so it can fast-track putting some roots down in the stock market.

 

Why should I care?

The bigger picture: Precision agriculture is hitting the mark.


Benson Hill is one of the pioneering names behind precision agriculture, which uses technology to boost farms’ output without using so much water, fertilizer, and arable land. And according to the World Economic Forum, the shift really could work wonders: if even 25% of farms adopted precision agriculture techniques, global crop yields would be 15% higher, water usage 20% lower, and greenhouse gas emissions 10% lower by 2030. Speaking of hot air, analysts at Morgan Stanley estimated that the precision agriculture market could rake in $17 billion of revenue in 2030 – up from $5 billion in 2019.



Zooming out: SPACs are still alive and kicking. 


SPACs are facing a few stumbling blocks at the moment, but that doesn’t seem to have put off Benson Hill – nor driverless truck startup Plus, which announced on Monday it’d be joining the SPAC pack too. Plus has designs on making its trucks fully autonomous by the end of 2024, but it’ll have some stiff competition where that’s concerned: rival TuSimple made its US stock market debut last month.

 

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

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