Dutch company The Protein Brewery raises € 22 million Series A investment

The Dutch company The Protein Brewery, an innovative developer of protein-rich food ingredients, replacing animals in the food chain, today announces that it has raised a € 22 million Series A investment, bringing its total funding to date to € 26 million. The new investment round was led by Novo Holdings, joined by new investors Roquette Ventures and Unovis Asset Management. This diverse set of investors comprise global expertise in life-science and plant-based ingredients, a true focus on sustainable fermentation processes and a widespread, relevant network.

The Protein Brewery was founded in January 2020, resulting from a demerger of BioscienZ, an industrial biotechnology company developing new technologies based on microbial fermentation as a core competence. It was founded in 2010 by Wim de Laat, a molecular scientist with over 30 years’ experience in industrial fermentation. The Series A funding will enable The Protein Brewery to continue its R&D, cover operational costs as well as scaling up production of the Fermotein™ food ingredient. The Protein Brewery has already gained a lot of experience from smaller scale production of Fermotein™.

Market potential

Integrating alternative proteins that successfully deliver on sustainable development goals is essential to feed a growing world population while taking care of the future of our planet and its people. The current global food market amounts to approximately €6.5 trillion. With Fermotein™, The Protein Brewery is well positioned to enter a €30 billion-plus market for alternative proteins, a market with huge growth potential. Fermotein™ will be available in both wet ‘cake’ product, as well as a dry powder form. The wet product can be used in applications such as meat alternatives or processed meats, while the dry version can be used as a food ingredient for a great variety of products including pasta, bakery products, protein bars, shakes, chocolate and ice cream. Due to the innovative nature, the Fermotein™ product requires regulatory approval for application as a food ingredient. The Protein Brewery is already in the application process for the US and European markets, with regulatory approval anticipated in 2021 in the US and 2022 in Europe.

Sustainable characteristics

Fermotein™ production technology comprises a unique combination of The Protein Brewery’s proprietary microorganisms (‘fungi’) combined with a highly cost-effective and easy-to-operate brewing process. This resulted in a food ingredient with an excellent nutritional profile and an amino acid composition similar to conventional meat. With Fermotein™’s unparalleled characteristics, such as using only 1% of land, 3% of CO2 and 5% of water compared to the use of land and water in the beef industry, it has one of the lowest ecological footprints of all proteins – animal-based and animal-free. Fermotein™ can be produced from a large variety of globally available, carbohydrate-rich, water-efficient and non-allergic crops such as casava, corn, potatoes, sugar beet and sugar cane, allowing for commercialization around the globe.

Local production of proteins from local crops is a key competitive advantage to offer sustainable proteins on the market.

Wim de Laat, founder of The Protein Brewery: “Providing food for a population of 10 billion people by 2050 demands alternative scenarios. By continuously driving new technologies we are able to face such challenges. It is an important driver in our mission to contribute to a more sustainable world, developing novel ways of producing food proteins using fermentation technologies. The financial support and domain expertise of the investors in The Protein Brewery, are key milestones in executing our goals even more rapidly and broadly. It provides headway to take the next important step and move towards the realization of a pilot plant, demonstrating the process, the properties and benefits of our innovative and nutritious food ingredient. It is paramount in the development of our company to continue the journey with committed shareholders who share the know-how, drive and enthusiasm for producing natural based food.

Thomas Grotkjær, Principal at Novo Holdings: “On behalf of the syndicate I would like to share our excitement of being involved in The Protein Brewery and their breakthrough fermentation technology. The Fermotein™ product is nutritious, has a very sustainable profile, and is applicable to a wide range of products demanded by consumers. With this product, the company is entering a fast-growing alternative proteins market. We look forward to grow the company commercially with Wim and his team and the other investors.

Investor syndicate

The Protein Brewery meets the criteria the investors look for in an investment in this space, while the investors’ experience makes it a strong syndicate for The Protein Brewery. Roquette Ventures, investment company and liaised with a specialist food producer, has a strategic focus on innovative ways to feed the future, while unlocking the potential of nature. Unovis Asset Management, an experienced investor in alternative proteins, seeks opportunities that disrupt conventional animal agriculture, while providing wellness to all living beings. Novo Holdings, a scientifically driven investor with deep knowledge of fermentation processes, is especially interested in the state-of-the-art quality The Protein Brewery offers, which is superior to all current options in the marketplace.

Supervisory Board

Besides representation of the existing investors and Wim de Laat as a founder, the new investors will each be represented in the Supervisory Board; Thomas Grotkjær of Novo Holdings, Edouard Nuttin of Roquette Ventures and Kim Odhner of Unovis Asset Management.

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