🥕 3D-printed vegetables
PLUS: World’s first deer antler stem cell line, 15 startups using AI for protein engineering, concrete from coffee
Mycoprotein production, cell-based collagen and brain-fuel protein bars were just 3 of the 12 funding highlights this week.
This summer’s FoodTech investment scene has been anything but quiet - here at FoodHack we’ve tracked 80+ fundraise announcements.
Been offline to relax and recharge? Head this way for 5-minute roundups on what’s been happening each week.
This Week in Food:
$9.6B restaurant chain deal
100% cultivated meat butchery
7 ways to scale your startup better
📈 What’s up? Data from the California Walnut Board shows that this year’s walnut crop outlook is “promising” after a difficult few years, following heavy rains last winter which helped to restore soil moisture.
📉 What’s down? London-based delivery startup Oja, which specialises in providing products catering for African, Caribbean, and other underrepresented cultures, has entered administration amid allegations of unpaid suppliers and staff.
🔍 Researchers from Iowa State University and Wichita State University are developing a new system to capture waste nitrogen and carbon dioxide and turn them into a green fertiliser that reduces emissions of nitrous oxide.
🥗 Two students from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar have won the top prize in the FoodTech category at a Qatar Development Bank competition for their idea for 3D-printed vegetables, designed to boost food security in countries with very little arable land.
☕️ Engineers from Australia’s RMIT University have developed a process to turn spent coffee grounds into biochar, which in turn can be used to create concrete that is nearly 30% stronger than conventional options, whilst reducing the amount of coffee waste that goes to landfill.
🇯🇵 Good Read: Forbes explains why Japan’s FoodTech sector is thriving.
🌾 Why the best management advice might be to ‘think like a farmer’.
New in Funding
🍄 Scottish-Dutch alt protein startup Enough raised €40 million Series C funding to scale production of its mycoprotein product, Abunda, with the aim of producing enough protein to replace five million cows or one billion chickens by 2032. Here’s how the funding will be used.
🧫 Jellatech, based in North Carolina, raised $3.5 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round led by Nordic VC firm byFounders. It will use the capital to commercialise its cell-based proteins, including collagen, for use in healthcare, personal care, biomedical research, and food and beverage. Here’s the story behind the CEO.
🍫 US-based brain health brand MOSH, founded by Maria Shriver and Patrick Schwarzenegger, raised $3 million Series A funding to support national expansion of its range of protein bars formulated with adaptogens and nutrients linked to brain health, including ashwagandha, lion’s mane mushroom, collagen, vitamins B12 and D3 and omega-3 fatty acids.
🧪 Cascade Biocatalysts, based in the US, secured $2.6 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round led by Ten VC. It will use the funds to scale its groundbreaking Body Armor for Enzymes™ technology, with which it seeks to drive greener and more cost-effective chemical reactions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainability across multiple industries. Could green be the new gold?
💦 Brussels-based Dripl raised €2.15 million to accelerate what it calls a “refillution”. The startup develops packaging-free soft drink dispensers. It will use the funds to roll out more of its Refill Points. Here’s where the idea came from.
🛵 Catch up on all the latest funding news from the week including soil carbon measurement tools, aquaculture robotics and zero-sugar energy drinks.
🍷 Imperfect Foods and its parent owner Misfits Market have started selling a range of wines made with low intervention winemaking practices, and selling wine that was not given prime real estate in stores due to a scuffed or lightly marked label through its “Rescued Wine” program.
🛒 New UK-based startup Mealia is developing a chatbot built on generative AI tools, designed to support low-income households in managing increasingly expensive food shopping. The “grocery shopping buddy” chatbot generates personalised recipes and meal plans based on dietary needs, budget and any specific details of what users like to eat and how they are able to prepare it.
🪰 Insect tech startup Entocycle is partnering with Bühler Group to scale its black soldier fly production, overcoming infrastructural barriers to convert organic waste into black soldier fly larvae and in turn into high-value protein ingredients for animal feed.
Credit: Nature’s Fynd
🍄 Chicago-based Nature’s Fynd received approval from Health Canada to commercialise its meat and dairy alternatives made with “the fungus from Yellowstone Park”, AKA its novel fungi protein, Fy.
👨🍳 Malaysian startup Good Health Farm claims to have created the world’s first tempeh beef mince, and has collaborated with Singaporean chef Forest Leong to create a range of ready-to-heat local dishes made with its tempeh meat.
🇨🇦 Canadian cultivated meat startup The Better Butchers, founded by the former co-founder of US plant-based meat brand The Very Good Food Company, announced plans to open what would be the world’s first 100% cultivated meat butchery within the next two years.
🚀 New UK-based brand Vegbloc, co-founded by Squeaky Bean founder Simon Day, launched a unique plant-based product format, designed to be “a meat replacement, not imitation”, which is made with whole vegetables, pulses, and seeds.
🦌 Chinese cultivated meat startup Jimi Biotech unveiled what it says is the world’s first deer antler stem cell line, and is aiming to file for regulatory approval next year.
🧀 Pureture, a biotech company based in New York, unveiled its plant-based casein, made via yeast-based traditional fermentation and designed for use in alternatives cheeses, milks, and yoghurts.
🤝 Food System Innovations has joined forces with Noa Weiss to launch GreenProteinAI, a new initiative which will use AI and machine learning to optimise the extrusion of plant-based meats.
🎃 Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is back for its 20th year, along with other seasonal beverages.
🥕 Baby food brand Beech-Nut Nutrition Co., owned by Swiss CPG firm Hero Group, launched Brownies with Hidden Veggies, a grab-and-go snack made with raisins, butternut squash and carrots.
🥖 US private equity firm Roark Capital, which has around $37 billion in assets, is acquiring the Subway restaurant chain. While terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, most recent reports claim that the deal is worth approximately $9.6 billion.
🛒 Walmart is adding drone deliveries by Wing to two of its stores in Texas this year, offering 30-minute delivery to approximately 60,000 homes.
HackTrends: AI for Protein Engineering
Thanks to rapid advances in the development of algorithms and the hardware that runs them, the dream of AI-powered protein design is quickly becoming a real possibility.
🔎 Discover in the full HackTrend Report:
- 2x case studies (Cradle Bio, Cambrium)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 15 companies fast-tracking innovation in protein engineering with AI
Find out more about how designing proteins has never been easy, but new generative tools and machine learning models are already making it easier.
From the Community
Get hired today:
🇦🇪 Our new FoodHack Dubai Ambassador, Sascha Dutta is co-producing an in-person Startup Investor Pitch Event at Free From Food Dubai, 20th September. Get involved as a panelist, sponsor, investor or start (use FOODHACK50 for a discounted pitch application).
💰 Pepsico Labs’ VP of tech innovation shares advice from CEOs of startups who preserve funds in a downturn.
💫 Before you launch your product, steal this go-to-market cheatsheet.
🔝 7 tips for impact startups and innovators to scale better.
🏆 Check out this list of 25 top Food and Beverage Executives.
🦎Just for fun: Trying to get traction for your startup
Until next time - Stay Hungry