Indian insect firm raises $3.4 million

Insect biotech startup Loopworm has raised $3.4 million in seed funding as it plans its first factory to scale production on insect-based aquafeed and other circular economy applications.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
24 August 2022, at 8:52am
Ankit Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri
Ankit Alok Bagaria (L) and Abhi Gawri (R) founded Loopworm in 2019

Loopworm is using insects to upcycle food waste into protein-rich nutrients for aquafeed

According to a news release, the Bangalore-based startup will use its seed funding for talent acquision, R&D to build world-class laboratories and to launch its first insect farming factory. Loopworm was founded in 2019 by IIT Roorkee graduates Ankit Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri. The two young entrepreneurs are optimising insect farming for smallholders while producing value-added nutrients and ingredients for business-to-business customers.

Loopworm is tackling India’s food waste crisis, increasing the incomes of smallholder farmer, and showcasing the power of Indian biotechnology to address environmental challenges. Using multi-species insect biotechnology, Loopworm is upcycling food waste into protein-rich nutrients and value-added ingredients. This circular economy startup will help transform multiple sectors including aquaculture, pet food and nutraceuticals.

person holding black soldier fly larvae
Black soldier fly larvae

Loopwrom aims to produce 300,000 metric tonnes of sustainable insect-based protein per annum

Emulating poultry integration in India, Loopworm is building decentralised insect rearing facilities in partnership with smallholder farmers. Over the next five years, the startup aims to produce 300,000 metric tonnes of sustainable insect-based protein per annum, creating value from 7.5 million metric tonnes of food waste and agricultural byproducts.

The recent funding round was co-led by Omnivore and WaterBridge Ventures, along with other Titan Capital and leading angel investors including Nadir Godrej (Godrej Agrovet), Sanjiv Rangrass (ex-ITC) and Akshay Singhal (Log9 Materials). Loopworm is Omnivore’s second investment under its OmniX Bio initiative, which backs early-stage agrifood life science startups.

Mark Kahn, the managing partner of Omnivore, commented, “Omnivore is delighted to back Loopworm under our OmniX Bio initiative, which seeks to blaze a path forward for agrifood life sciences in India. Loopworm sees massive potential in transforming cultivated insects into value-added nutrients and ingredients, and Omnivore believes the company will quickly become one of India’s leading biotech startups.”

Ashish Jain, partner at WaterBridge Ventures, said, “We are excited to see Ankit and Abhi solving for sustainable and scalable food resources which are traceable and hence easier for mainstream adoption. Loopworm, sitting at the cusp of climate-tech and food-tech, has the potential to continue moving up the value chain as its product suite evolves and emerges as a truly scaled player.”

Ankit Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri, co-founders of Loopworm, said, “We are thrilled to have Omnivore, Waterbridge, Titan Capital and several experienced angels, including Nadir Godrej, as investors in Loopworm. We plan to use the new funding to set up our first Loop Factory in North Bangalore, hire talent, and accelerate R&D.”