Ÿnsect raises USD 125 million in funding to scale up production

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Evry, France-based Ÿnsect, a start-up focused on producing fish feed, pet food, and organic plant fertilizers from insects, announced on Thursday, 21 February it had raised USD 125 million (EUR 110 million) via a Series C funding round.

The new fundraising comes on top of prior investments of USD 75 million (EUR ) since its founding in 2011 that allowed the company to build its primary insect farm in Amiens, Northern France, which grows mealworms, or molitor beetle larvae.

The new round of funding came from Astanor Ventures, Bpifrance, Talis Capital, Idinvest Partners, Finasucre, and Compagnie du Bois Sauvage and will be used to scale up the company’s output in Amiens to produce 20,000 metric tons of insect protein annually, and to build a new factory in North America, the company said in a press release. 

"By offering an insect protein alternative to traditional animal and fish-based feed sources, Ÿnsect can help offset the growing competition for ocean fish stock required to feed two billion more people by 2050, while alleviating fish, water, and soil depletion, as well as agriculture’s staggering 25 percent share of global greenhouse gas emissions,” Ÿnsect CEO and Chairman Antoine Huber said. “Our goal is simply to give insects back their natural place in the food chain.”

Ÿnsect has created ŸnOil and ŸnMeal, insect-based oils and feed for the aquaculture industry, which have been used in growing shrimp and trout. The company said it is also work on feed that could be used in rearing salmon and sea bass. 

Ÿnsect recently landed USD 70 million (EUR 61.7 billion) in contracts that run through the next four years, it said, requiring the new funding round to enable it to scale up. 

“Ÿnsect is becoming the world’s largest insect producer, whatever the species, thanks to our unique highly scalable and pioneering technology,” Huber said. “Enabled by deep tech, the entire production process – from feeding to controlling the health and welfare of our insects, and from the sensors used for quality control to harvesting mature insects – is automated. We have 25 patents covering our technology, the products themselves and their different applications, giving Ÿnsect the world's largest insect patent portfolio. But ultimately, we need scale to have a significant impact globally, which this investment will allow us to achieve.”

Maïlys Ferrere, head of Large Venture Investment, said her group’s funding of Ÿnsect is intended to help it become “the first player to reach full commercial scale in the insect-based protein industry for animal feed.”

Also encouraging the firm’s investment are predictions the animal feed market will grow in value to USD 600 billion (EUR 528.8 million) by 2027.

Photo courtesy of Ÿnsect

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