LISBON, PORTUGAL — MicroHarvest, an agri-food-tech startup based in Hamburg, Germany, has announced a strategic partnership with Dusseldorf-based venture capital firm Simon Capital. The company has raised €1.5 million ($1.6 million USD) from Simon Capital, bringing its total funding to more than €10 million.
This new funding follows MicroHarvest’s Series A funding that ended September 2022, through which the company raised €8.5 million ($9.3 million USD) through Astanor Ventures, FoodLabs, Happiness Capital and Faber.
MicroHarvest plans to use the new funding to accelerate production scale and commercialization of its sustainable protein ingredient, which can be used in food, pet food and animal feed applications.
To achieve this, the company has established a new pilot plant in Lisbon, enabling MicroHarvest to create prototypes and fuel research. The company shared it will also accelerate production with its current co-manufacturing partner.
Aside from funding, the partnership is also expected to bolster MicroHarvest’s operational know-how.
“Choosing the partnership with Simon Capital will bring a significant long-term edge to the growth of MicroHarvest,” said Katelijne Bekers, co-founder and chief executive officer at MicroHarvest. “Simon Capital doesn’t just bring extra funding: through them, we gain access to an incredibly experienced team who understands the ins and outs of a manufacturing company in the food & beverage space. We share a result-oriented mindset and are purpose-driven, with the bold ambition of building a resilient food system. I believe this combination of operational and cultural match is what makes this partnership a critical milestone for our company’s success.’’
MicroHarvest creates fermented proteins through a proprietary technology based on biomass fermentation methods. As a result of this process, its finished proteins offer more than 60% raw protein, can be manufactured within 24 hours, and require “a fraction of water and land needed for other commercially available alternatives,” the company stated.
“We are excited to join the MicroHarvest team on their mission to combine best-in-class research know-how and operational expertise for reshaping the B2B protein ingredients industry, by unlocking the full potential of microorganisms,” said Friedrich Droste, Ph.D., managing partner at Simon Capital. “It is impressive to see what the team has built-up in the last months on its path to improving the resilience of tomorrow’s food system and, in addition, driving impact for more sustainable consumption. Simon Capital is looking forward to working closely together with the team and a renowned set of investors.”
Since its founding in April 2021, MicroHarvest has received the BloombergNEF Pioneers Award for its low-carbon alternative protein approach and speed to market. Over the last 12 months, the company has scaled production to 661 lbs per day, and its recent product tests in shrimp feed have “yielded encouraging results,” according to MicroHarvest.
Simon Capital also backs plant-based pet food company Wild Earth.
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