Shiru, a biotech start-up that is using machine learning and precision fermentation to build a portfolio of sustainable plant-based ingredients, has closed a $17 million Series A round.
Based in California, Shiru uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify ingredients from the plant world that can be used as alternatives to eggs, meat, dairy and gelatine.
The company then isolates the plants’ DNA and puts it into yeast to produce those ingredients using precision fermentation.
Shiru aims to develop ingredients that meet or exceed animal-derived alternatives on taste, texture, other functional attributes and cost at scale, while requiring a small fraction of the land, energy and water. The company is planning to develop many different types of functional ingredients, with an initial focus on proteins.
The Series A round was led by S2G Ventures and joined by returning investors, including Lux Capital, CPT Capital and Y Combinator, as well as several new investors.
Shiru will use the funds to continue building its team and also plans to move into new headquarters in Alameda, California, in the first half of 2022 and to start scaling up manufacturing.
“The global food industry is well aware of the voracious demand among consumers for sustainable food, as well as the sector’s immense power to help solve our climate crisis,” said Shiru CEO and founder, Jasmin Hume.
“Shiru’s goal is to make it simple and cost-effective for every food company, from multinational conglomerates to innovative start-ups, to do the right thing for people and the planet.”
Chuck Templeton, a new Shiru board member and managing director of S2G Ventures, added: “The global food sector is on the cusp of an innovation explosion. Shiru is at the vanguard of a new generation of start-ups that will transform the agriculture sector, paving the way for a liveable planet and increased quality of life for all of us.”
Shiru plans to deliver its first ingredients to food companies next year.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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