DONGEN, THE NETHERLANDS — Protix, a producer of sustainable ingredients from insects, announced it has acquired €50 million ($57.2 million) in investments from the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), BNP Paribas, the Prince Albert II Fund and The Good Investors. The investments were also funded by the company’s existing backers Aqua-Spark, Rabo Investments and Invest-NL.
“We are very pleased to welcome such an impact-oriented group of investors supporting our mission to bring the food system back in balance with nature,” said Kees Aarts, founder and chief executive officer of Protix. “Their support marks an exciting next step for 2022 after a memorable 2021, when we realized continued commercial success, completed an exciting successful breeding program, and strengthened our organization with new talent in key positions. Continued appetite from financial institutions and impact investors alike reinforces our stepwise approach of scaling our business. This is an important step towards further exponential growth.”
Protix will use the investments to expand internationally and to further its R&D into insect-based ingredients. This includes building new facilities and increasing its production capacity.
The company develops its sustainable ingredients from the larvae of the black solider fly (BSF or BSFL). The flies are fed organic waste from the food industry to produce larvae, which is then transformed into proteins and lipids used in pet and animal food.
According to the company, using insects as an alternative protein in animal food has many sustainable benefits, including the prevention of over-fishing and deforestation.
“Created in 2009, Protix has been instrumental in proving that insects are an untapped and sustainable source of natural protein to address food challenges,” said Sebastien Renaud, investment director for Ecological Transition Capital within BNP Paribas. “The investment by our principal investments department in this pioneer company is a great illustration of our long-term commitment to support young and innovative companies with one clear ambition for BNP Paribas: accelerating the emergence of new industries to address major sustainability issues.”
Committed to making the animal feed and pet food markets more sustainable, Protix co-founded the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) to support legislation in Europe. According to the company, it is the first and only company in the world to have industrial-scale production of insect-based ingredients.
“Scaling alternative aquafeed ingredients was a top priority for us when we launched Aqua-Spark in 2015,” said Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, cofounders and managing partners, Aqua-Spark. “So it’s with big excitement that we continue to support Protix as they once again move to the next level of scale, from the largest insect factory in the world producing at capacity to this next phase of exponential growth, they are leading the way in making insect protein an accessible, viable global solution.”
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