Insect Protein Startup Raises $250 Million
- Innovafeed, a startup that makes insect feed for animals, just raised $250 million.
- The round was led by Qatar Investment Authority with participation from Temasek and Creadev.
- We got an exclusive look at the 9 slide pitch deck it uses to secure funding.
A startup developing insect food for aquaculture, pet food and ultimately humans just raised $250 million to boost production.
Paris-based Innovafeed was founded in 2016 to use insects to help make food systems more sustainable, reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their impact on biodiversity.
“Our vision is very simple,” co-founder and CEO Clement Rey told Insider.
Innovafeed breeds black soldier flies to produce food for fish farming, poultry and pet food. Flies lay eggs that hatch and become larvae. The larvae feed on agro-industrial by-products and consume nutrients from the waste. The high-protein larvae are then processed into insect meal.
“One of the products we replace in aquafeed is fishmeal,” Ray said. “Fishmeal is made from small fish caught in South America and Africa and turned into feed to feed other food production. It has a major impact on biodiversity and a significant carbon footprint. We are making aquaculture grow even more What a sustainable way.”
Replacing fishmeal with Innovafeed’s products can reduce the carbon footprint of salmon feed by 50 percent, the co-founders say. The company is currently building one of the world’s largest vertical insect farms in France, and plans to build another in Illinois next year, Ray said.
Its factories are automated, and the company uses artificial intelligence and robotics to collect, sort and process larvae. It also uses an array of sensors and monitoring technologies to ensure the right growing conditions, such as temperature and humidity in vertical farms.
The new French plant will eventually have 100,000 tons of raw material, of which 15,000 tons are insect protein. It also produces insect oil.
The company also plans to create an Impact Council, which will be comprised of internal and external individuals, including employees and NGOs, to ensure that impact is at the heart of its strategy as the company grows.
“We believe that by growing the insect protein industry, we have a positive inner impact, but we want to take up the challenge and build things in the best way possible,” Ray said.
Innovafeed also expects to enter the human food market by the end of 2023, with its insect-based product being used as an ingredient.
The round, which brings the company’s total raised to $450 million, was led by Qatar Investment Authority with participation from existing investors Creadev and Temasek. Multinational food and agriculture companies ADM and Cargill joined the rough market as strategic investors.
The new cash also includes 38 million euros ($37.6 million) in debt financing from French banks.
It will be used to continue investing in technology, bring the new plant to fruition and increase its 400 employees.
Check out the 9-slide edited pitch deck below.