Amsterdam-based Farmless, a startup that aims to turn renewable energy and CO2 into carbon-negative food ingredients, has secured €4.8M in a seed round of funding.
Before this round, in May 2023, the startup exited stealth mode after securing €1.2M in the pre-seed round led by Revent, Nucleus Capital, and Possible Ventures, among other investors.
Investors supporting Farmless in Seed round
The investment was co-led by World Fund and Vorwerk Ventures, with participation from Revent.
Dr Nadine Geiser, Principal at World Fund says, “Moving away from sugar as a feedstock for fermentation represents a significant opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions of fermentation-based food production.”
“At the World Fund, we only invest in startups with the greatest climate performance potential – and there is a significant need to reduce emissions in the farming, agriculture and land use category (FALU).”
“The FALU category is responsible for around 22 per cent of emissions globally, but receives just 12 per cent of venture funding for climate, so it’s critical we back more startups like Farmless, which has the potential to drastically reduce land use from agriculture, and to improve biodiversity globally.”
The World Fund is a Europe-focused climate VC fund. From energy, food, agriculture, and land use, to building materials, manufacturing and transport, the firm backs European tech with significant climate performance potential (CPP).
Farmless, which is crafting eco-friendly, functional proteins with a full amino acid profile, plans to use the proceeds for constructing a pilot protein brewery in Amsterdam.
The funds will also support the development of the startup’s fermentation platform and facilitate ongoing regulatory approval processes.
The fermentation platform
Farmless has developed a fermentation platform enabling local protein production unaffected by climate and agricultural land constraints.
With agriculture occupying nearly half of the habitable land and 77 per cent dedicated to livestock farming, Farmless employs controlled fermentation of natural microorganisms, requiring up to 5000 times less land than beef.
The process uses a liquid composed of CO2, hydrogen, nitrogen, and renewable energy, deviating from the typical sugar-based fermentation.
The resulting product is a functional protein containing all essential amino acids, applicable in creating alternatives to meat, dairy, and egg products.
According to Farmless, its fermentation platform minimises reliance on animal products, allowing for the restoration of farmland to nature, reversing biodiversity loss, and sequestering gigatons of carbon.
Adnan Oner, founder of Farmless says, “In today’s unpredictable world, where climate change threatens crop yields, our fermentation platform offers an antifragile solution for food security. This allows any country to take control of their protein production, without the need for fertile land.”
“If we unlock the protein-producing powers of the microbial kingdoms we can create a future worth getting excited about. We can have an abundant, cruelty-free food supply and rewild the world, restore forests, all while drawing down gigatonnes of CO2 from the air.”
“We’re excited to see that we had overwhelming investor interest in this round. We’re thrilled to have found investors who share our sense of urgency in creating dramatically better ways of producing proteins on a planetary scale,” adds Oner.
Farmless is on a mission to transform protein production, addressing ecological issues caused by agriculture’s extensive land use. Despite livestock providing only 18 per cent of total calories, it contributes to biodiversity loss, deforestation, climate change, pesticide use, freshwater depletion, nitrogen runoff, and more.
With the demand for meat and dairy increasing, Farmless aims to free protein production from animals and conventional agriculture. Their fermentation platform, using renewable liquid feedstock and natural microorganisms, has produced an initial product for meat, dairy, and egg alternatives.
Founded by physicist and serial entrepreneur Adnan Oner, Farmless aspires to economically surpass animal-based proteins.
Brief about the investors
Vorwerk Ventures, a €150M VC Fund with €400M under management, focuses on sustainable business models that make a positive impact. While committed to consumer-facing digital businesses, the firm also invests in selected B2B companies aligned with their sector expertise.
Revent, an early-stage VC fund, is dedicated to planetary and societal health. Investing in ambitious founders addressing existential challenges, the firm focuses on pre-seed and seed-stage companies using defensible, scalable technology in areas like health, climate, empowerment, and the future of food.