Food tech company Plantible Foods has closed a $21.5 million Series A funding round, as it prepares to commercialise its duckweed-derived protein.
Founded in 2018, Plantible has developed a vertically integrated agricultural platform to produce plant-based protein from Lemna, more commonly known as duckweed.
The company says that its Rubi Protein emulates the functional characteristics of widely used animal-based proteins. In addition, Plantible claims that Lemna is considered to be one of the most protein-efficient crops in the world, reportedly yielding ten times more protein per acre than soy.
According to Plantible, Lemna allows for a consistent daily harvest throughout the year, as grown in a controlled environment, it doubles in mass every 48 hours.
The round was led by Astanor Ventures, with participation from returning investors such as Unshackled Ventures, Vectr Ventures, Lerer Hippeau and Kellogg’s venture capital fund, Eighteen94 capital.
Other investors in the round included Piva Capital, CJ CheilJedang, Good Friends and Google SVP of product Bradley Horowitz, as well as Trevor Martin and Chris Bryson, founders of Mammoth Biosciences and Unata, respectively.
Over the past year, Plantible has built out a small pilot plant, and the company now plans to use the Series A funds to construct its first commercial facility to launch and commercialise its product in 2022.
“Plantible is not competing with other plant proteins, our goal is to remove chickens and cows from the food supply system,” said Plantible Foods CEO Tony Martens, who co-founded the company with Maurits van de Ven.
“Currently available plant proteins don’t pull their weight when it comes to competing with animal-based products on taste and nutrition.
“By combining plant science, biochemistry and engineering, we are able to create drop-in replacements for these widely used animal-derived proteins without forcing consumers to sacrifice on either taste or nutrition, paving the way for an accelerated transition towards a healthier planet.”
Christina Ulardic, partner at Astanor Ventures, said: “Beyond the transition away from animal-based protein, the diversification of plant-based protein sources is fundamental to ensuring that the agri-food system will not depend on a set of monocultures”.
“From camping on the farm to the speed at which they have met each milestone since the last funding round, we are continuously impressed by Maurits and Tony’s exceptional personal dedication to their mission.”
Bennett Cohen, partner at Piva Capital, added: “Tony and Maurits have tenaciously pursued a unique approach to Lemna cultivation and RuBisCO extraction, producing a plant-based protein that is more affordable, better functioning and more planet-positive than any other protein source”.
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