As per the UN, the world population is expected to reach a staggering 9.8B in 2050. If we near the said number in the future, it’s estimated that food production will need to be double as compared to today. While the next best solution would hopefully be nothing as horrifying as portrayed in the 1973 American ecological dystopian thriller film Soylent Green, insects could bring in the next food revolution. France-based startup Ÿnsect farms insects to manufacture high-quality ingredients for aquaculture and pet nutrition. It has now raised a notable €190.6M in a Series C extension round.
Largest insect farm in the world
The latest funding round for Ÿnsect was an extension of its Series C round. Astanor Ventures led the round, along with LA-based Upfront Ventures and Robert Downey Jr. ‘s FootPrint Coalition. Existing investors such as Hong-Kong-based Happiness Capital, Supernova Invest and Armat Group also participated, along with initial Series C investors including Bpi France (including Programmes d’Investissements d’Avenir funds), Talis capital, IdInvest, Finasucre, Bois Sauvage, Vis Vires New Protein Capital.
Ÿnsect has previously raised €316M in its first Series C round; this latest funding brings the total investment in the company to €361.4M. The startup says it will utilise the money to complete its ‘largest insect farm in the world’ by 2022 for improving global food security and sustainability. The farm is currently under construction in France and is said to be a negative carbon project. The company will also aim at expanding its product lines and is slated to soon enter the North American market.
The financing for this round was supported by a bank consortium. It includes Caisse des Dépôts (the ‘venture arm’ of the French state), Crédit Agricole Brie Picardie, and Caisse d’Epargne Hauts-de-France..
Addressing the bigger problem
Ÿnsect was launched back in 2011 by founders Alexis Angot and Fabrice Berro. The company aims to become a supplier of protein globally as increasing demand for fish is gradually stressing an already fragile ecosystem. The company currently produces digestible protein and fertiliser products that are to be used in pet foods and crop raising respectively.
The company claims, citing studies, that using its products instead of traditional animal proteins and chemical fertilisers resulted in a 34% yield increase for rainbow trout, a 40% mortality reduction for shrimp, 25% increase rapeseed yield, 25% mortality reduction for sea bass and reduction in skin disease for dogs, among others.
For those unaware about the insect rearing market, there are different types of insects that offer differing nutritional value. Ÿnsect apparently created a patented process for cultivating mealworms, which is claimed to offer notable yield and health benefits over other insect species. The company uses a vertical farm and says it makes for 98% less land usage while reducing the carbon and biodiversity footprints of protein production. Ÿnsect claims to produce zero waste and cites an analysis by Quantis firm, which claims that the Ÿnfarm (farming facility) project is carbon negative.
Image credits: Ÿnsect