Sustainable Bioproducts, a Chicago-based biotechnology company which has developed a new way to grow edible protein, has raised $33 million in a Series A Financing round.
The funding round was led by 1955 Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture fund, while ADM Ventures and Danone Manifesto Ventures, the venture capital arms of ADM and Danone; Lauder Partners and the Liebelson family also participated in the financing round.
Based in the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Sustainable Bioproducts’ technology was developed following research into extremophile organisms that live in Yellowstone National Park’s volcanic springs.
The company’s work has led to the development of an innovative fermentation technology, which can grow protein “with great nutritional value and minimal impact on the environment”.
According to Sustainable Bioproducts, the process involves ‘feeding’ common food components such as starches or glycerin to the high-protein microbes, which then quickly multiply.
The resulting products produced by the process contain the nine amino acids considered essential to the human diet, potentially creating a new, sustainable method of meeting the growing global demand for protein.
Organisations such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture have also provided financial and in-kind support to the company in the recent past.
Thomas Jonas, Sustainable Bioproducts’ CEO and co-founder said: “Curiosity and a passion for exploration led us to Yellowstone, one of the harshest ecosystems in the world.
“By observing how life optimises the use of resources in this challenging environment, we have invented a way to make protein that is radically more efficient and gentler on our planet.”
Andrew Chung, managing partner of 1955 Capital, said: “We have witnessed incredible growth in the demand for new proteins in recent years and believe Sustainable Bioproducts has the most compelling and efficient solution to satisfy this demand.
“This demand will not only come from the West, but from the developing world where the need for protein will become more severe.”
Interest in meat alternatives is growing among major food companies, as more consumers are changing their consumption habits in the face of growing environmental and ethical concerns.
For example, last month Nestlé announced plans to introduce a plant-based, meat-free burger in the spring called the ‘Incredible Burger’, which is set to rival other meat alternatives such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger,
US meat giant Tyson Foods has also invested in a number of cultured meat producers in 2018, including a $2.2 million investment in Israel-based biotechnology company Future Meat Technologies, and a further investment in US-based food tech start-up Memphis Meats.
Israel-based start-up Aleph Farms also produced what it claimed is ‘the first’ cell-grown minute steak in December 2018, claiming that the ‘slaughter-free steak’ replicates the appearance, shape, and texture of conventional beef cuts.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019