Plant-based shellfish, microalgae protein and fat alternatives vying for investment
Global investors will be posing tough questions next month to alternative protein startups pitching to secure support for foods and technologies ranging from plant-based butter and shellfish to microalgae protein and cultivated fat alternatives.
At ProVeg Incubator’s Demo Day, investors will quiz startups on their staffing levels, their special ingredients or technical twists that will secure them unique spots on the market, and the data that demonstrates that customers really want what the startups are selling.
Pitches to the panel of investors will also be watched by a global audience of food-tech investors, entrepreneurs, corporates, media and researchers.
The Demo Day marks the culmination of the Incubator’s 12-week programme, in which the startups have been learning everything they need to know to launch and grow their businesses from some of the biggest names in the business, from product development and regulatory approval, to branding and go-to-market strategies.
The event is sponsored by Earthstar Investments, an exciting new women-led asset management business focused on investing in plant-based food ventures to address the food security challenges of tomorrow.
“In spite of the difficult global economic and financial environment, we see impressive innovations coming to the food sector. Food-tech startups in all parts of the world are working on animal-free solutions to transform food systems, leveraging technological approaches like precision and mycelium fermentation. And what better sign of the drive and power of the sector than next month’s Demo Day, which shows off the innovative plant-based and cultivated products in the pipeline,” Albrecht Wolfmeyer, International Director of ProVeg Incubator, said.
Along with support from Earthstar Investments, the jury and audience will include investors from Green Generation Fund, Sustainable Food Ventures, Astanor Ventures, Foodlabs and World Fund, joined by leading corporations like Beneo and Rewe Group.
The global plant-based foods sector is currently valued at $52.5 billion with a projected growth to $161 billion by 2030.
“Innovations in the market mean that consumers have a greater choice of tasty and healthy plant-based alternatives and food producers get access to more sustainable functional ingredients and platforms, making a transition away from animal-based products much easier,” Wolfmeyer said.
“We invite investors and corporates to watch the pitching process at Demo Day and hope that these pioneering startups get the funding they need to take their products and solutions to the next stage,” Wolfmeyer added.
Demo Day will be hosted both in person and online on Tuesday 20 June, 3-5pm (CET). The online part of the event is open to everyone and those wanting to participate can sign up on Eventbrite here.
The ProVeg Incubator is the world’s first and leading accelerator programmes for plant-based, fermentation and cultivated food startups and this event marks the culmination of the 12-week programme for its 10th cohort.
The physical event will be the ProVeg Incubator’s first in-person Demo Day in four years and will be a unique opportunity for an exclusive group of hand-picked guests to meet fellow food industry leaders, game-changers and decision-makers. It has limited capacity and is reserved for guests on an invite-only basis.
Details of the 12 startups pitching at Demo Day are:
- Be Better My Friend (Netherlands, 2021): Founders Marikevan Beurden and Joost Lindeman have developed plant-based butter and cream alternatives for professional pastry chefs. Find out more at bebettermyfriend.com
- FoodSquared (UK, 2021): Founders Frankie Fox, Wesley Yland, and Abi Aspen Glencross are using a ‘patent pending’ process and proprietary ingredient formulations to create next-generation plant-based shellfish, starting with plant-based shrimp. Find out more at foodsquared.earth
- Ergo Bioscience (Argentina/US, 2020): Founders Alejandro Barbarini, Maria Laura Garcia, and Eduardo Peña develop complex animal proteins by plant cell precision fermentation. Find out more at ergofoods.com
- Plant Origin (Thailand, 2022): Founders Pasakorn Niratbhand, Patarachet Soodsaguan, Panu Srisawasdi, and Akkasit Jongjareonrak are developing plant-based protein alternatives using hydrolyzed rice bran protein, which is extracted from byproducts of rice production. Find out more at plantorigin.co
- Fattastic Technologies (Singapore, 2022): Founder Satnam Singh is developing a plant-based fat alternative that improves the sensory properties of alternative protein products with its innovative ‘oil structuring technology’. Find out more at fattastic.tech
- Propel Foods (Mexico, 2022): Founders Joel González Gómez and Jayat Elena González Palomeras are using artificial intelligence to produce frozen, ready-to-eat, plant-based meals including tacos, burgers and chorizos with a strong emphasis on health and nutrition. Find out more at propelfoods.com
- Algrow Biosciences (Singapore, 2022): Founders Sudhir Kumar Pasupuleti and Sukhi Wei create sustainable and nutritious protein using microalgae. Their clean-label process for removing chlorophyll results in a taste- and colour-neutral protein-rich biomass with a complete amino acid profile, packed with omega-3, iron, and potassium, that can be produced at a cost that is 85% compared to its competitors. Find out more at algrowbiosciences.co
- MycoSure (South Africa, 2021): Founders Charles Reed, Greg Brown and James McLaren are specialised in fungal mycelium biomass fermentation producing protein and nutraceutical ingredients in a scalable and cost-effective way. Find out more at mycosure.co.za
- StarPlants (China/Israel, 2021): Founders Eran Dubovi and Udi Baran run a plant-based food company specialising in chick pea milk and snacks. The company, which is based in China and led by owners based in Israel, develops, manufactures, and sells the products. Find out more at starplants.com.cn
- SomaTech (Ireland, 2023): Founders Dr Tony Martin Callaghan and Dr Alejandra Omarini have developed a scalable solid state fermentation platform that uses fungal mycelium to upcycle locally produced side streams, creating affordable, functional protein-rich food ingredients. (No website currently).
- Sticta Biologicals (Chile, 2021): Founders Eduardo Agosin and Andres Ariztia have developed a proprietary microbial platform that uses precision fermentation to produce proteins and natural biochemicals for the food, agriculture and wellbeing sectors. The company’s SmartSerumTM, all-in–one, customised serum-free culture media includes proteins and ingredients for the mass production of cultivated meats. Find out more at sticta.com
- Bygg Foods (US, 2022): Founder Smári Ásmundsson is developing a product line including plant-based milk and vegan protein powder, created from upcycled ingredients. Bygg aims to cater to millennials and Gen Z consumers who prioritise health and environmental consciousness. The company aims to expand to a range of plant-based food and beverage categories. Find out more at byggfoods.com
Those who attend the event online get to:
- Watch the 12 pitches
- See what the investors have to say
- Connect with fellow food industry leaders via chat
- Ask questions via chat
- Vote for their favourite startup pitch to win the Audience Award
- Find out who wins the Judges Award and Audience Award
About the ProVeg Incubator
The ProVeg Incubator is designed to support mission-driven startups working on plant-based, fermentation, and cultivated-food products and technologies. Startups must have the potential to remove animals from the global food system, either by providing alternatives or with supporting technology.
The ProVeg Incubator, which is based in Berlin, Germany, is particularly interested in startups developing egg, seafood, and chicken alternatives, as well as other meat and dairy alternatives, ingredients and technologies that can help substitute animal-derived staple products on a mass scale. Focus areas include functional ingredients, precision fermentation and biomass fermentation, cell-cultivation and molecular farming, along with the enabling tech, processes, and platforms.
To stay up to date with all the latest news about the ProVeg Incubator, go to our website or follow us @provegincubator on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
For further information, please contact Vicki Sagar, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, ProVeg Incubator, at [email protected]
For general media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]