German startup MicroHarvest has raised €8.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Astanor Ventures.
MicroHarvest has developed a precision fermentation technique that is claimed to be the world’s fastest protein production system. Bacteria are cultivated in a solution, then separated from the water and inactivated before being transformed into the final product.
Elegantly simple tech
The “elegantly simple” technology can turn raw materials into complete protein products in the space of a single day, compared to the months required for plant or animal-based proteins. Highly nutritious single-cell proteins can be very efficiently produced for use in human food, pet food, and animal feed.
The production process can also be scaled in a decentralised way, aiding in the transition towards more sustainable and affordable proteins. Ultimately, it could help to make regions more food-independent and supply chains more resilient.
Another recent and related investment by Astanor Ventures is Paris-based Standing Ovation. The precision fermentation startup raised €12 million last week for its animal-free casein, which could be used to dramatically improve the quality of plant-based cheeses.
Studies suggest that there is huge interest in cheeses made with precision fermentation, and that they will immediately challenge the $240 billion conventional cheese market when they hit supermarket shelves.
“Standing Ovation’s technology represents a paradigm shift for the animal-free dairy market,” said Eric Archambeau, co-founder of Astanor Ventures. “We are greatly impressed by the team’s advancements over the past year both in product and process development and are excited to support them in this next step of their journey.”