InnovaFeed, a vertical insect farm operator that raises insects for animal and plant nutrition, has raised $250 million in a Series D round of funding led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
While countless companies are developing alternative and more sustainable ways to get their protein solutions to humans through lab-grown meat, others are tackling the underlying problem from a different angle by exploring new ways to augment traditional meat and fish populations through insect protein. . InnovaFeed is one of several biotechnology companies focused specifically on using insects and turning them into nutrients for animals – including aquaculture (fish farming), poultry and swine, and pet food. On top of that, InnovaFood creates organic fertilizers from insect poop to boost plant and crop growth.
A growth industry
Founded in Paris, France in 2016, InnovaFeed has previously raised nearly $200 million, and with another $250 million in the bank, the company is well-financed to build its current duo of vertical insect farms in the north of France. Increasing production capacity at its Nestlé site, which the company says is the world’s largest farm.
The company is planning 10 more such sites by the end of the decade and, with its latest cash injection, has confirmed it is expanding into the US with a new production plant in Decatur, Illinois, in partnership with food processing giant ADM, near its headquarters.
To support this push into the US market, InnovaFeed has appointed a new General Manager for the North American market. Maye Walraven, a French-American national, was formerly InnovaFeed’s vice president of business development.
“Our expansion into the United States is a critical step in our scale-up,” Wallraven said in a statement. “This will enable us to access a deeper source of feedstock and significantly increase our production capacity.”
InnovaFeed is not alone in trying to use insects for animal protein. Other prominent players in the space are Ÿnsect, a Paris-based startup that received significant VC-backing for bug farms, while UK-based Better Origin is a startup that turns food waste into insect food.
Collectively, these companies are looking to serve what is estimated to be a nearly $1 billion industry within five years, a number that could accelerate as food prices continue to rise and the effects of climate change become more widespread.
“At a time when conserving our natural resources and protecting our environment is becoming an absolute necessity, we believe the insect industry is a critical solution to our planet’s food production needs,” said InnovaFeed Co-Founder and CEO Clement Ray. .
In addition to ADM, the $50 billion multinational food giant, InnovaFeed, also counts Cargill as a customer, which goes to highlight how pervasive InnovaFeed’s technology is becoming in the food industry. Additionally, ADM and Cargill both joined QIA as part of InnovaFeed’s Series D round, along with Temasek, Credev, Future French Champions, ABC Impact, IDIA Capital Investment and Grow Forward.