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Elo Life Systems secures $20.5m in Series A2 funding round
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

26 January 2024

Elo Life Systems secures $20.5m in Series A2 funding round

US ingredients company Elo Life Systems has secured $20.5 million in an oversubscribed Series A2 financing round. The round was jointly led by DCVC Bio and Novo Holdings. It included participation from Hanwha Next Generation Opportunity Fund, AccelR8 and Alexandria Venture Investments. The funding will be used to scale and commercialise the company's sweetener product, increase its molecular-farming pipeline for healthy and sustainable ingredients and expand its crop protection and productivity efforts, including work to save the banana from extinction. Elo explained that through its molecular farming platform, the business produces sought-after ingredients "that are difficult to harvest from natural sources and cannot be synthesized through artificial or other techniques". The company, therefore, uses easy-to-grow crops as biofactories for these ingredients, reducing costs and environmental footprint. Elo is introducing its first molecular-farming product, a natural sweetener derived from monk fruit that is 300 times sweeter than sugar and calorie-free. Scheduled for launch in 2026, this sweetener can be used in numerous food and beverage products to reduce sugar and artificial sweeteners while improving nutrition. Additionally, the company is exploring the production of various ingredients, such as innovative proteins, natural preservatives and high-value flavours and bio-actives. Elo CEO Todd Rands said: "At Elo, we're on a mission to unlock nature's abilities to make consumers' favourite foods more delicious, healthy and planet friendly. With strong support from our investors, we're well positioned to scale up our production and stay on track to launch our first product in 2026." Stephen Van Helden, principal in the Bioindustrial Investments group at Novo Holdings US, commented: "Molecular farming will allow our food system to meet the needs of the world's growing population while reducing the resources needed to produce nutritious food. Elo's approach – together with cutting-edge science and an experienced management team – is aligned with Novo Holdings' purpose to deliver scaled solutions for better societal and planetary outcomes." Kiersten Stead, managing partner at DCVC Bio, added: "Elo's sweetener will be a major catalyst in the effort to lower sugar in our diets, improving human health and reducing the societal burden associated with chronic diseases. Meanwhile, their efforts to protect and improve the productivity of staple crops like the banana will have a meaningful impact on the food billions of people rely upon every day." Last year, Elo secured $24.5 million, bringing its total funding to $45 million.

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