Finnish biotech startup eniferBio, which produces upcycled mycoprotein powder from food and agricultural byproducts, has raised €11 million in Series A funding.
The round was led by Aqua-Spark, with participation from Tesi, Valio, Voima Ventures, and Nordic Foodtech VC. EniferBio will use the funding to scale up production of its mycoprotein powder to thousands of tons per year, along with seeking regulatory approval both in the EU and further afield.
Called PEKILO, the mycoprotein is produced through fermentation and contains up to 70% protein. It is also highly sustainable, requiring very little land and water to produce.
While the protein was initially developed decades ago as a more sustainable form of animal feed, eniferBio is exploring an array of other applications, including human food. The startup has partnered with Finnish brand leader Valio — which has previously conducted research into alt proteins — to investigate the use of PEKILO in consumer products.
Upcycling industry byproducts
There is a growing trend towards upcycling industry byproducts into plant-based foods. Examples include turning sunflower press-cakes (a byproduct of oil production) into meat alternatives, and converting agricultural and wood industry sidestreams such as sawdust into fats that could replace palm oil. Several companies are also working on upcycling brewers’ yeast into sustainable protein.
“We are extremely excited to have our new investors Aqua-Spark, Tesi, and Valio join us on our mission to feed the world with sustainable protein,” says Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of eniferBio. “Together they put a huge amount of new sector-specific know-how and networks at our disposal. We’re also glad to see our long-term backers Nordic Foodtech VC and Voima Ventures double down on their bets and show their continued support for our vision.”