SINGAPORE — Nutrition Technologies, a biotechnology company focused on developing sustainable animal feed ingredients, completed a funding round on Sept. 19 through which it raised $20 million. The company plans to use the funding to expand into new markets, accelerate its R&D and create new partnerships.
The equity round was led by PTT Ventures and supported by Sumitomo Corporation, ING Sustainable Investments and Mandala Capital, as well as existing investors Openspace Ventures, SEEDs Capital and Hera Capital.
“Aside from growth in clean-energy, PTT is expanding its portfolio into new businesses corresponding to global trends, sustainability, and social responsibility,” said Buranin Rattanasombat, Ph.D., senior executive vice president of innovation and new ventures at PTT. “We look forward to partnering with Nutrition Technologies to support their next phase of growth. Commercial insect protein production is one of the most important innovations of the past few years, with the potential to disrupt the animal feed and fertilizer sectors and solve multiple issues the world is currently facing. Furthermore, we expect this partnership will provide customers with innovative solutions to revolutionize the agriculture sector as well as improve people's quality of life.”
Founded in 2015, Nutrition Technologies manufactures sustainable ingredients for use in animal feed, as well as biofertilizers, using a combination of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) and microbes. The company recycles nutrients from byproducts produced by the agricultural and food industries, therefore reducing food waste and improving food security.
“Nutrition Technologies fits well in the investment strategy and portfolio of ING Sustainable Investments, as we seek to assist sustainable companies in scaling their operations,” said Mark Weustink, head of ING Sustainable Investments. “Together with our consortium partners we are also keen to support the company in capitalizing on various opportunities in the fast-growing European and Asian markets of alternative proteins.”
According to Nutrition Technologies, the insect ingredient market has gained more attention over the years with the global insect protein market estimated to be worth $343 million in 2021. The market is expected to continue strong growth with an estimated CAGR of 26.5%, amassing $1.3 billion by 2027, according to the company.
Despite this growth estimation, many insect ingredient companies, including those producing insect proteins, have experienced various hurdles and few have succeeded in reaching an industrial scale, according to Nutrition Technologies.
“Nutrition Technologies has led the way in delivering black soldier fly solutions at scale and at a price that is competitive on the global markets,” said Hian Goh, founding partner of Openspace Ventures. “It means they are already providing a viable alternative to existing and less sustainable feed options. In achieving that, the team has demonstrated exceptional executional capabilities. Going forward, we have high conviction in their expansion plans.”
Food security has been on a steady decline during the past few decades as global populations grow, but has ramped up due to climate change, according to Nutrition Technologies. With this in mind, the company is striving to address this insecurity, particularly related to animal feed and pet nutrition, as well as reduce the amount of organic matter and food waste in landfills contributing to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Insects represent a virtually unlimited and untapped pool of biological assets, with huge opportunities for value creation,” said Richard Hayler, chief financial officer of Nutrition Technologies. “Tackling food security is only the tip of the iceberg and with our strengthened balance sheet, great partners and best in class insect protein, we are strategically positioned to lead the next agricultural revolution.”
Nutrition Technologies has been creating a commercial replica of the natural decomposition process since its founding. Using proprietary inoculants and BSFL, the company transforms low-grade crops and food waste into high-quality ingredients for use in animal feed and biofertilizers.
“We believe our technological developments can help address some of the world’s most critical problems and are highly motivated to accelerate expansion as quickly as possible,” said Charlie Carter, chief operating officer at Nutrition Technologies. “Our novel microbiology solution to insect production allows us to use a wide pool of raw materials which negates the most significant barrier to scaling.”
The company operates a 2-hectare facility in Johor, Malaysia, converting hundreds of tons of organic waste weekly and producing functional proteins and oils with bioactive compounds, some of which can help improve animal growth and pet health. Nutrition Technologies has tested its products on shrimp, fish, poultry, piglets and pets, with each showing significant positive health results. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Pet World Nutritions to launch Malaysia’s first sustainable dog food product.
Nutrition Technologies plans to use the funds raised in its recent investment round to expand production capacity at its current plant in Malaysia, as well as for a new joint project. The company will also expand its R&D capabilities in Singapore, increase its commercial activities in other countries, and add new patents to its existing insect protein portfolio.
“We are increasing production to meet market demand and providing essential ingredients to the domestic agricultural sector as well as boosting exports through shipping our products to Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Chile,” said Nick Piggott, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Nutrition Technologies. “We will also commence shipments to the United Kingdom and European Union very soon.”
The company has invested more than seven years into R&D, creating proprietary technologies and a vertical insect production ecosystem, which uses bespoke automation to ensure biosafety and zero waste. Nutrition Technologies’ facility features low-energy benefits with its tropical location and low emissions, helping to meet global climate change targets.
“We have had some incredibly exciting breakthroughs over the past two years,” said Martin Zorrilla, chief technology officer at Nutrition Technologies. “Following successful additions to our patent portfolio, we will launch two new revolutionary biological products to the fertilizer market that will address some of the region’s greatest challenges in crop productivity.”
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