Ÿnsect, a company that breeds insects for feed and non-food applications was awarded the Fundraising Achievement of the Year 2019 for Europe and Israel. Co-Founder, Alexis Angot, was at the recent Cleantech Forum Europe in Stockholm to collect the award following the impressive $125 million Series C the company announced in February, raised from investors including Astanor Ventures, Demeter, Quadia, Talis Capital, Idinvest Partners, Credit Agricole Brie Picardie, Caisse d’Epargne, Picardie Investissement, Finasucre, Compagnie du Bois Sauvage, Happiness Capital, VisVires New Protein Capital, and BPIFrance.
Ÿnsect is one of the fastest growing companies working in the agriculture sector in Europe. Founded in 2011, it raised its Series B in 2016 to build its pilot plant in Burgundy, France. Having achieved this, we awarded Ÿnsect the Global Cleantech 100 Europe and Israel Company of the Year for 2017. After two years of production at the pilot plant the company began raising the funds for its first commercial scale plant and, within a year, had raised its huge Series C round.
- Using a beetle (Tenebrio Molitor) instead of the more typical Black Soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) produces a fishmeal-competitive protein percentage (70-72%) while offering more health benefits. It is therefore sold as a premium feed ingredient.
- A key success of the pilot plant was to discover and verify health benefits alongside nutritional value. The pilot facility also validated the farming process and technology, with vertical farming systems and a high level of automation being used as the basis for the commercial facility.
- While other insect farms can take in organic waste stream as input, Ÿnsect’s process requires a particular dry feed input. For this reason, the new site’s location in Northern France is strategically close to producers of this input. Future plants will also be sited near good sources of input including North America and South-East Asia.
- Investors are bringing strategic value. Some bring financial knowhow to put this large capital fundraising to the best use and structure the company accordingly. Some bring agri-tech market knowledge to arrange contracts with suppliers and customers. Every investor is bought into the impact that Ÿnsect is trying to create.
- Alexis highlighted vertical farming, aquaponics, and innovation in food chain logistics as key technology areas he is watching.
- Ten years ago no one cared how their farmed salmon was being fed. That has completely changed. Consumers are driving change in the food industry.
To follow up this introduction to Ÿnsect, next week I’ll be publishing an in-depth interview with Ÿnsect’s Co-Founder, Alexis Angot on his view of the challenges and opportunities ahead.
For more insight on the trends and innovators in Agriculture & Food, get our Cleantech 100 Sector Report.