US agtech firm Terviva has raised $54 million in funding, which it will use to commercialise its ingredients made from the pongamia tree and support its new product development collaboration with Danone.
Founded in 2010, Terviva produces a cooking oil and highly-soluble plant protein using the beans of the regenerative pongamia tree – which it claims is far more sustainable than other oilseed crops commonly used today, such as palm and soy.
Terviva plans to open a facility in the US in 2022, where it aims to produce and bring to market its pongamia-based foods. The company expects to close an additional $24 million in equity and debt capital this quarter, resulting in a total of $78 million in capital to drive its expansion.
“Terviva’s pongamia-based food ingredients broaden access to healthy and environmentally sustainable foods that directly combat climate change. With our food ingredients, we can feed the planet and heal it at the same time,” said Naveen Sikka, founder and CEO of Terviva.
In addition, Terviva has announced a collaboration with Danone and Mista to develop new plant-based food and beverage products using its pongamia oil and plant protein.
“We believe that healthy foods need a healthy planet with thriving ecosystems and strong, resilient social structures,” said Merijn Dols, global director of open innovation and circular economy for food of Danone.
“This is why we are excited to team up with Terviva to co-develop important ingredients – edible protein and oil – from the pongamia tree, while also rehabilitating the soil the tree grows in,” Dols added.
Terviva works with farmers to plant pongamia trees on idle agricultural land that is often difficult to farm due to poor soil or water stress. According to the company, an orchard of pongamia trees on this land captures 115 metric tons of carbon per acre over 30 years, putting pongamia among the the most sustainable sources of edible oil and plant protein.
The financing round consisted of investors such as Astera Institute, Evans Properties, Trustbridge Partners, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, Landis Becker Young and Brace Young (chair of Social Finance) and Mark Tercek (former CEO of The Nature Conservancy).
“We need environmentally friendly approaches to feed the world’s rising population. We can work with nature to reduce carbon emissions and produce more nutritious food, and Terviva is a prime example of such an opportunity,” said new Terviva board member Brace Young.
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