Canadian food tech startup Chinova Bioworks announces it has secured $6M in Series A funding to expand production of Chiber™– a novel clean-label preservative extracted from mushrooms. The funding will also be used to grow Chinova’s team, create new products and enhance its production capabilities on Prince Edward Island.
Derived from the stems of upcycled white mushrooms, Chiber is a natural, allergen-free fiber that helps improve the quality, freshness and shelf-life of a wide variety of foods. It can be incorporated into plant-based meats and dairy, as well as baked goods, beverages and sauces, the company states. In the application of dairy-free yogurt, the startup says Chiber is the first clean-label ingredient that protects probiotic cultures and inhibits spoilage.
To source its mushrooms, Chinova works with mushroom farmers to collect stems that would otherwise be discarded, helping to reduce food waste. The Series A investment round was co-led by DSM Venturing and Rhapsody Venture Partners, with participation from Rich Product Ventures.
“Chinova has been crushing it for more than five years. It’s been amazing to see how quickly Chinova has been able to add customers, making investing a no-brainer,” said Bernard Lupien, General Partner from Rhapsody Venture Partners. “Furthermore, Chinova’s planet-friendly process of upcycling the otherwise discarded stems of white button mushrooms to create Chiber is precisely what consumers are asking for.”
“The pandemic has accelerated the trend for food safety and health-focused products,” said Natasha Dhayagude, co-founder and CEO of Chinova Bioworks. “With this increased consumer awareness and scrutiny, brands are under pressure to keep up and reformulate their products to meet clean-label demands. Departing from artificial preservatives is one of the most critical and challenging changes food producers must make. That’s where Chiber comes in since it is a natural clean-label preservative found in mushrooms.”