SINGAPORE — On March 9, sustainable food company Protenga announced it had received $2 million in investments from Singapore-based investors. The company will use the investments to develop its insect production facilities and to launch its insect-based pet food brand, YumGrubs.

"The investment is a strong validation of the team’s hard work and our unique approach to make insect farming accessible and radically scalable,” said Leo Wein, founder and chief executive officer, Protenga.

The company will officially launch its new smart insect production farms in Malaysia, which will transform organic byproducts into high-quality protein and fertilizers via black solider fly larvae (BSFL). Protenga aims to become the largest insect company in Southeast Asia, making insect protein accessible to all.

According to the company, its use of the investments will help it meet soaring demand for insect-based ingredients in many industries, including aquaculture, animal feed and pet food industries.

“We have demonstrated our technology to farm insects and we are ready to scale to have a global impact,” Wein said. “Accessing debt financing starts our journey of bringing insect farming from being predominantly equity-financed to a broader set of financing options, such as infrastructure financing or conventional bank loans, and decouples the expansion of our physical production facilities from our equity-based growth investments in our technology and commercialization platform. We have also been extremely pleased with the very positive customer and market feedback on our pet food offerings, providing validation of our team’s intensive R&D work over the last year.”

Protenga’s new smart insect farms will supply fresh produce, which will be used in the company’s new pet food YumGrubs. The company’s insect farms and facilities will also provide co-manufacturing for other insect-based, white-label pet food companies.

Since receiving its seed round investment of nearly $2 million in 2020, Protenga has launched three facilities, producing double-digit tonnage of insect-based ingredients monthly. The company ramped up its production in 2021, further expanding its capacity.

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