• Brightseed Completes $68M Series B to Commercialize Novel Hemp Ingredients



    Brightseed, a pioneer in tech-based phytonutrient research, announces it has raised $68M in Series B funding to accelerate its plant nutrient discovery and bring new ingredients, including special hemp-derived compounds, to market. The company’s first hemp compounds, NCT and NFT, are derived from upcycled seed hulls and are expected to launch in the next nine months. 

    Hemp may lower fat

    Using its Forager AI platform, Brightseed is able to identify and map plants’ bioactive compounds and relate them to human health benefits with rapid speed, reports NutraIngredients-USA. Forager technology has so far mapped 2 million plant compounds, including N-trans caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans-feruloyltyramine (NFT) from hemp hulls. Preclinical research suggests the hemp compounds help to reduce liver fat and regulate lipid levels.

    To commercialize these and other ingredients, the company is opening a production facility in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, and preparing a GRAS dossier for FDA review. 

    Brightseed Founders
    Brightseed’s co-founders Lee Chae, Sofia Elizondo and Jim Flatt ©Brightseed

    Hemp-based innovations

    Hemp, whether as extracted compounds or textured protein, holds major potential to functionally replace animal proteins in many foods and beverages. In recent years, industry interest in hemp as a valuable protein has accelerated, thanks to the plant’s long list of nutritional and environmental benefits

    In 2021, leading dairy-free brand Califia Farms debuted its first hemp milk product, Hemp Barista Blend. Planet Based Foods is rapidly expanding distribution of its new burgers and sausages made from hemp seeds, while Nepra Foods launched the first Textured Hemp Protein into foodservice in the US.

    Grounded Foods produces a best-selling line of cheese and cheese sauce made from upcycled cauliflower and hemp, while New Zealand’s Sustainable Foods raised $2.15M in April to grow availability of its groundbreaking hemp-based chicken.

    chicken alternative made with hemp
    © Sustainable Foods

    With newly discovered hemp compounds, Brightseed looks forward to the ingredients’ future applications. 

    ”Brightseed is building the opportunity space for health innovation rooted in nature and delivering a clear path forward for clinical validation,” said Sofia Elizondo, Brightseed co-founder and COO. “We are eager to make our bioactives readily accessible for food and health industries as we move  from lab to shelf and embrace consumers along the journey of bioactive discovery.”

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