InnovaFeed takes $250 million to expand vertical insect farming to US • TechCrunch

Innovafeed, a vertical insect farm operator that cultivates insects for animal and plant nutrition, has secured $250 million in Series D funding from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

While countless companies are creating alternative and sustainable ways for humans to get their protein fix, such as through lab-grown meat, others are tackling the problem from a different angle by finding new ways to supplement traditional meat and fish populations with insect protein. . Innovafeed is one of several emerging biotechnology companies focusing specifically on harvesting insects and turning them into nutrients for animals – this includes aquaculture (fish farming), poultry and pig and pet food. In addition, Innova Food creates organic fertilizers from insect reservoirs to enhance plant and crop growth.

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In the year Founded in 2016 out of Paris, France, Innovafeed has previously raised about $200 million and has another $250 million in the bank for the company’s well-funded project to develop vertical insect farms in northern France. Increasing production capacity on the Nestlé site, which is the company’s largest farm in the world.

The company plans 10 more similar locations by the end of this decade, and with its recent injection of cash, it confirmed it is expanding into the U.S. with a new production plant in Decatur, Illinois, which is headquartered nearby in partnership with food processing giant ADM.

InnovaFeed in action. Image Credits: InnovaFeed

To push this into the US market, InnovaFeed has appointed a new general manager for the North American market. May Walraven, French-American, was previously InnovaFeed’s Vice President of Business Development.

“Expansion in the United States is a critical step in our growth,” Walraven said in a statement. “It will greatly increase our ability to find and produce deep animal feed.”

Innovafeed is not alone in its efforts to use insects for animal protein. Other notable players in the space include Ÿnsect, a Paris-based startup that received significant VC-backing for bug farms, and UK-based Better Origins, which turns food waste into insect feed.

Collectively, these companies are looking to serve a nearly $1 billion industry within five years, a figure that will continue to grow as food prices rise and the effects of climate change become more widespread.

Innovafeed founder and CEO Clement Ray said: “At a time when conserving our natural resources and protecting our environment is imperative, we are convinced that the insect industry is a key solution to our planet’s food production needs.” .

In addition to ADM, the $50 billion multinational food company InnovaFeed counts Cargill as a customer, which goes some way to underscoring how far InnovaFeed’s technology has come in the food industry. Moreover, both ADM and Cargill have joined QIA in investing in InnovaFeed, along with Temasek, Createv, Future French Champions, ABC Impact, IDIA Capital Investissement and Grow Forward.

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