CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — On April 21, Inseco announced that its seed funding round closed at $5.3 million. Futuregrowth Asset Management led the company’s seed funding round, which also received participation form E4EAfrica and Oak Drive Ventures.

Inseco uses black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) to transform organic byproducts into high quality proteins, oils and fertilizers. The company’s flagship products include EntoMeal, an easily digestible protein meal, and EntoOil, a natural oil extracted from EntoMeal. Both EntoMeal and EntoOil can serve as sustainable alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil in pet food formulations.

Founded in 2017, the company is committed to using insects to solve the world’s sustainability challenges.

“Now, more than ever, we’re seeing the importance of sustainability – and the responsibility that we have, to be a more resource-efficient society for future generations,” said Simon Hazell, chief executive officer and co-founder of Inseco. “At Inseco, we believe that insects will play an important role in this transition, becoming a widely available source of sustainable protein, and an important form of nutrition to help meet the food demands of the future.”

Currently, Inseco serves the pet food and aquaculture industries within Cape Town, but has plans to expand into other parts of Africa, as well as Europe and the United States. According to Futuregrowth, its investment will allow Inseco to expand its manufacturing capacity and fund its R&D.

“Inseco is a market leader in this space,” said Ayanda Bolani, analyst at Futuregrowth. “After years of research and development, the resourceful management team has developed advanced, state-of-the-art processing capabilities, placing it well ahead of its competitors. It is currently the largest insect protein producer in the Southern Hemisphere and is the only company in South Africa that can produce defatted insect meal and oil, a product that is in high demand globally.”

According to Inseco, insect protein uses 7,000% less land than soymeal, emits 47 times less greenhouse gases compared to windrow composting, can reduce livestock feed costs by 25%, and has a lower production cost compared to fishmeal. These sustainability benefits are what drew Futuregrowth to invest in Inseco.

Inseco's EntoOil, insect-based oil.Inseco's EntoOil, insect-based oil. (Source: Inseco)

“The investment into Inseco fits well within our responsible investment philosophy,” said Amrish Narrandes, head of unlisted equity at Futuregrowth. “In comparison to traditional protein sources, insect protein has an inherently lower environmental impact, as the process directly reduces food waste, involves minimal greenhouse gas emissions, limited water usage and makes zero use of arable lands. In addition to the strong ESG case, insect protein has a superior nutritional content, which results in higher feed conversion rates compared to traditional protein sources.”

In 2019, Inseco participated in the Technology Innovation Agency Global Cleantech Innovation Program, which supports and recognizes clean technology startups. As part of the program, Inseco won an award in the Cleantech category, as well as the Best Youth-Led Team award.

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