South Africa’s De Novo Dairy and India’s Zero Cow Factory have received around €1m (US$1.02m) from Pascual Innoventures, becoming the first funding recipients of the program designed to foster innovation in cellular agriculture in dairy.
The two startups produce animal-free dairy proteins, with De Novo Dairy specializing in lactoferrin produced through precision fermentation, and Zero Cow Factory – in casein. The other two companies that featured in Mylkcubator 1.0 were Barcelona-based Real Deal Milk – a precision-fermentation specialist that produces whey and casein; and Pure Mammary Factors, Inc., which produces cell-cultured milks.
The program is run in partnership with startup accelerator, Eatable Adventures. Pascual Innoventures says cell agriculture and precision fermentation are ‘starting to demonstrate industrial viability’, with startups valued at more than US$5.3m according to Dealroom data.
Mylkcubator 2.0 – from precision proteins to molecular farming
A new cohort of startups has been announced for the second edition of the program, which has been expanded to include molecular farming projects, i.e. such that produce proteins using plant cells instead of animal ones. Companies from Argentina to Israel are taking part.
They are: Portugal’s PFx Biotech, which develops human milk proteins for use as alternative protein ingredients in pediatric and advanced nutrition; the Netherlands’ Miruku, a molecular farming specialist that leverages plant cells to produce proteins and fats; Israeli biofunctional ingredients specialist Maolac; ERGO Bioscience, an Argentine startup, which expresses myoglobin and casein from carrot cells cultures, and Nutropy, a French company that produces dairy ingredients by ‘feeding’ yeast with sugars, minerals, and vitamins.
Explaining how much funding the five startups will vie for, Gabriel Torres, director of Pascual Innoventures, told DairyReporter: “This will be assessed after studying the feasibility of the projects as well as the maturity point of both the companies and the technologies on which the startups are working.
“We are constantly exploring new projects and avenues of collaboration with emerging players that can add value for the future of food in the dairy segment. We will therefore continue to drive new projects and investments in the future.”