SINGAPORE — Insect protein manufacturer Protenga raised $1.6 million in seed funding from Roslin Technologies and Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, to continue innovating in the sustainable pet food and aquaculture ingredient space.

Protenga is currently increasing production of its insect-based products, conducting genetic research, and sharing its “Smart Insect Farm” model with agricultural workers and food manufacturers across Asia to help them turn waste into valuable products.

“Production and bioconversion opportunities using the black soldier fly are enormous,” commented Leo Wein, chief executive officer of Protenga. “Working with Roslin Technologies provides the perfect opportunity to expand Protenga’s capabilities and scale up across our key markets. We’re also delighted to receive support and funding from Seeds Capital — together, we plan to drive transformational change in the global food supply chain.”

More specifically, the investment by Roslin Technologies will allow Protenga to study genetic insect strains for bioconversion performance. This research will be conducted at Roslin Technologies’ genetic nucleus facility in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is currently under construction.

“This investment is the start of our journey into the insect protein and nutrition market,” added Glen Illing, chief executive officer of Roslin Technologies. “Protenga has the right technologies, capabilities and culture to succeed in providing new sustainable production and waste bioconversion practices using black soldier fly.

“We are also excited about applying enhanced breeding technologies to develop improved insect lines with Protenga from a new genetic nucleus facility currently being built near Edinburgh,” Illing said.
“Protenga is at the cutting edge of sustainable protein production and is the next important building block in our portfolio of agritech ventures.”

Protenga primarily produces protein from black soldier fly larvae in Malaysia. These proteins are used in a number of flagship finished goods by the company, including a line of insect-based pet food, YumGrubs.

Protenga estimates nearly one-third of all food is wasted globally. The company brings a circular, zero-waste approach to the global protein supply, as insect protein production requires less land, water and food than traditional meat ingredients. The company even upcycles larvae excrements into bio-fertilizer.

“Protenga’s proprietary solutions in black soldier fly production and waste bioconversion enables the company to have a differentiated and scalable business model in the insect protein space, and addresses the growing gap in the demand and supply of animal feed,” said Geoffrey Yeo, general manager of Seeds Capital. “The investment in Protenga builds on our existing focus in agrifood technologies and further develops the alternative protein ecosystem in Singapore. We are delighted to be supporting Protenga as they continue to grow and expand their operations.”

Previous investments in Protenga include those from KJS Group and other private investors.

The company is currently adding to its operations, engineering, science, technology and business teams as it looks to complete its commercial pilot facility in the third quarter of 2020.

Stay up to date on news about the pet food processing industry on our News page.