Bill Gates founded BEV backs Aussie firm looking to reduce methane emissions in cows

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/franckreporter
© GettyImages/franckreporter

Related tags methane emissions Bill Gates Australian

Australian climate technology company, Rumin8, has closed Phase 2 of its seed funding round, led by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV).

The funding will be used to accelerate Rumin8’s road to commercialisation. The firm looks to identify "naturally occurring compounds that have anti-methanogenic properties"​ and instead of harvesting and extracting them from plants, then goes about reproducing them in “a highly efficient, low cost, scalable, and high-quality process​” for delivery to livestock in order to reduce their emissions.

The start-up, which has raised US$12m in the second phase of its seed funding, said the amount will be spent on commercial trials​ in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the US as well as product brand and pilot manufacturing plant development. Funds from both of its seed rounds​ totalled around A$25m (US$17.5m).

Existing international climate fund investors in Rumin8, the Australian-based Aware Super Sentient WA Growth Fund and US based Prelude Ventures, both ‘topped-up’ their shareholding in the Phase 2 seed round.

'A low cost, scalable toolbox'

Rumin8 is the first Australian-based BEV portfolio company.

The demand for sustainable protein has never been more apparent, which is why BEV is keenly interested in reducing methane emissions from beef and dairy,”​ said Carmichael Roberts, business lead, investment committee, BEV. “Rumin8 offers a low cost, scalable toolbox that has already proven to be effective in reducing emissions. Our team will support Rumin8 in working closely with farmers to expand the reach of this solution globally.” 

Paul Slaughter CEO of Harvest Road Group, another participant in the seed round, said Rumin8 complements the group’s other investments in reducing the impact of agriculture on climate change.

“We are actively seeking solutions to reduce methane emissions in livestock supply chains, with Harvest Road supporting multiple emerging technologies focussed on methane reduction in ruminant animals. Feed additives are an important pillar in our strategy to reduce our carbon footprint and support our ambition to help solve the global methane emissions challenge. We believe Rumin8’s new technology has broad ranging application across the livestock sector and offers a promising solution for industry.”

Rumin8 MD, David Messina, said the Phase 2 seed round had closed over-subscribed.

Prior to the Phase 2 seed funding round, we were progressing a number of key work streams sequentially. Now we have the resources to progress them in parallel, speeding up the road to commercialisation.

"Our laboratory results continue to yield excellent results, our animal trials are reflecting the laboratory results, and the financial modelling we are undertaking is indicating we will be able to supply our products at a commercial price point."

The company also secured A$650K (US$456K) in a grant award from AusIndustry’s Entrepreneur’s Program last June to accelerate the commercialisation of its feed supplements.

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