Mycoprotein feed start-up raises €11m

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A Finnish biotech start-up that aims to produce fungus-based protein for animal and aquafeed has raised €11m (£9.7m) in its latest funding round.

The capital raising exercise for eniferBio was led by aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark alongside Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment), with Valio, Voima Ventures and Nordic Foodtech VC also joining the round.

With the freshly raised funding, the company will begin to scale up the production of its PEKILO® mycoprotein powder to thousands of tons per year and seek Novel Food approval from the EU and other markets.

PEKILO® is a fungus that, through a special fermentation process, can produce a dried powder rich in protein and has a vast variety of usage cases, such as pet food and aquafeed. The process was originally developed by forestry industry scientists in the 1960s in Finland to produce cost-efficient animal feed protein from side streams of the pulp and paper industry.

Using the same, yet enhanced, proprietary technology and fermentation process, eniferBio can upcycle by-products from diverse agri-, food- and forest industry processes into its PEKILO® mycoprotein, which consists of up to 70% protein, 20-30% of good-quality fibre, about 10% of fats and minerals, and has a high concentration of vitamin B. The production process is efficient, uses very little water, doesn’t require large land areas and does not cause eutrophication like traditional agriculture.

CEO and cofounder of eniferBio Simo Ellilä said: “We are extremely excited to have our new investors Aqua-Spark, Tesi, and Valio join us on our mission to feed the world with sustainable protein. Together they put a huge amount of new sector-specific know-how and networks at our disposal. We’re also glad to see our long-term backers Nordic Foodtech VC and Voima Ventures double down on their bets and show their continued support for our vision.”

Lissy Smit, CEO of Aqua-Spark, said: “Greening aquaculture feed by eliminating our reliance on wild ingredients and reducing our footprint is one of our biggest priorities in getting to a more sustainable aquaculture industry. EniferBio’s alternative feed ingredient serves as a replacement for soy in aquafeed. It significantly reduces land and water usage. Furthermore, early trials suggest that it has the potential to improve growth performance and immune response in fish.”

eniferBio already has ongoing partnerships with big global companies in the feed and food industries, such as Skretting, the global aquafeed division of Nutreco, Purina for pet food, and Valio for consumer food products. Its next big phase includes developing products fit for consumers through collaboration with Valio, a brand leader in Finland and a major player in the international dairy ingredients market.

eniferBio’s mycoprotein

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