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nextProtein raises € 10.2m funding to scale up production

nextProtein, a French company that produces insect-based animal feed and fertiliser, has raised € 10.2 million to scale up its production.

nextProtein’s products include protein powder for farmed fish, poultry, pigs and pets, thereby replacing more resource-intensive or costly feed sources. The latest investment will enable nextProtein to build a second cutting-edge facility, hire new talent and accelerate its research and development programme. The company plans to scale production to 100,000 tonnes per year by 2025, or an estimated 10% of the total insect protein market globally.

...this fundraising will enable nextProtein to emerge as a prominent industry-shaping company for the decade to come by bringing to market the next generation of insect-derived products.” – Etienne Raynaud, Head of Strategy for the company.

“Insect protein provides solutions to major societal problems: a growing population with a higher demand for fish and meat and a degrading environment,” said Syrine Chaalala, who co-founded the company in 2015 with her partner Mohamed Gastli, a chemical engineer and entrepreneur.

“Addressing these macro-trends at scale demands a commitment of equal magnitude from us. Delivering on this pledge has required nextProtein to be at the forefront of sustainable indoor and vertical farming innovation, and to gather the best and brightest to drive future progress,” says Gastli.

French start-up uses black soldier fly larvae to convert food waste into animal feed. Photo: Shutterstock
French start-up uses black soldier fly larvae to convert food waste into animal feed. Photo: Shutterstock

“While sustainability is a prerequisite to our impact, price competitiveness determines its scale and pace. We have worked hard to become the most cost-efficient player, and this fundraising will enable nextProtein to emerge as a prominent industry-shaping company for the decade to come by bringing to market the next generation of insect-derived products.” said Etienne Raynaud, Head of Strategy for the company.

The agricultural sector is ripe for disruption, especially if we hope to feed a growing global population sustainably,” – Syrine Chaalala.

Waste fruits and vegetables as feed source

Headquartered in Paris, nextProtein exemplifies the shift towards a full circular economy, moving away from the industry standard of using cereal by-products as a main feed source for the insects – for which there is already other market demands – to focus instead on wasted fruits and vegetables.

“The agricultural sector is ripe for disruption, especially if we hope to feed a growing global population sustainably,” added Chaalala. “With nextProtein, we are helping mainstream a new environmentally friendly industry, so it is very important to keep the highest standards in order to build and maintain consumer trust in our products.

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“Our strategy was to find raw materials that were local, unwanted and available in large quantities so as to reintegrate these nutrients into our food systems, giving new value to what was essentially considered worthless or even burdensome.”

Investors

The latest funding round was led by a group of investors coordinated by Blue Oceans Partners, including Telos Impact and RAISE Impact, with support from Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, through the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund, Kepple Africa Ventures and Aucfan Incubate Inc.

The investment positions nextProtein to tap into a global fishmeal market worth € 7bn and growing at 8% every year, as well as the even bigger livestock feed (€ 400bn) and pet food markets (€ 50bn).

Since 2015, the start-up has attracted funds from a wide range of high-profile investors including Xavier Niel’s Kima Ventures, Khaled Helioui, an early investor in Uber, Deliveroo and OpenClassrooms, and Cyril Grislain, an investor in Stripe, Devialet and Headspace.