- Innovafeed, a startup that makes insect feed for animals, just raised $250 million.
- The round was led by the Qatar Investment Authority with participation from Temasek and Createv.
- We got an exclusive look at the 9-slide pitch he used to secure the funding.
A startup developing insect-based food for aquaculture, pet food and eventually humans has just raised $250 million to scale up production.
Paris-based Innovafeed was founded in 2016 to use insects to improve the sustainability of the food system, reduce its carbon footprint and reduce its impact on biodiversity.
“Our vision was very simple,” co-founder and CEO Clément Ray told Insider.
Innovafeed breeds black soldiers to create nutritional products for fish farming, poultry and pet food. Flies lay eggs that hatch into larvae. Larvae feed on by-products of agro-industry and consume nutrients from waste. The protein-rich larvae are then processed to make insect meal.
“One of the products we replace in the aqua feed is fishmeal,” Ray said. “Fishmeal is made from small fish caught in South America, in Africa, turned into meal to feed other food production. It has a significant impact on biodiversity and a significant carbon footprint. We enable aquaculture to grow in a much more sustainable way.”
Replacing fishmeal with Innovafeed’s product reduces the carbon footprint of salmon feed by 50%, the co-founder said. The company is currently building one of the world’s largest insect farms in France and plans to build another plant in Illinois next year, Ray said.
Its factories are automated, and the company uses artificial intelligence and robotics to collect, sort and process larvae. It also uses a range of sensors and monitoring technologies to ensure the right growing conditions, for example temperature and humidity in a vertical farm.
The new French site will have a final capacity of 100,000 tonnes of ingredients, of which 15,000 will be insect protein. It also produces insect oil.
The company also plans to launch an impact committee made up of internal and external individuals, including employees and NGOs, to ensure impact is at the heart of its strategy as it grows.
“We believe we are having a positive substantive impact by developing the insect protein industry, but we want to be challenging and build things the best way,” Ray said.
Innovafeed also expects to enter the human food market by the end of 2023, with its insect-based products used as an ingredient.
The funding round, which brings the company’s total raised to $450 million, was led by the Qatar Investment Authority with participation from existing investors Creadev and Temasek. Multinational food and agriculture companies ADM and Cargill have joined as strategic investors.
The new cash also includes 38 million euros (about $37.6 million) in French bank debt financing.
It will be used to continue investing in technology, bring in new facilities and increase the number of employees by 400 people.
Check out the edited 9-slide pitch deck below.