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Protix lands €45 million for insect protein production

Rob Fletcher
Rob Fletcher
13 June 2017, at 3:14pm

The Dutch insect protein producer Protix closed a funding round worth €45m today, following investment pledges from Aqua-Spark, Rabobank, BOM and various private investors.

Protix breeds insects for feeds for various types of livestock, including fish, as they offer a low-impact protein alternative that can be cultivated on a variety of food scraps.

Protix, which was founded in 2009, is a highly technological and data driven insect producer, regarded for its automated breeding and rearing process. The company has turned insect production into a commercial success by serving the animal feed industry, while also developing food applications for consumers. Their products are used in over 12 countries to date - in feed applications ranging from pig and poultry to pet food specialties.    


 

 

© Aqua-Spark

One of the key supporters of the project is Aqua-Spark, the first investment company to be focused on sustainable aquaculture. Its interest is in the Dutch firm’s promising uses for aquaculture. Fish raised using sustainable aquaculture methods offer a solution to the global food crisis because they have the least environmental impact of any animal protein. However, as the industry continues to improve overall, feed is still a key concern. 33% of all wild caught fish is processed into animal feed, and alternatives like soy contribute to deforestation and do not reflect a natural diet. Protix has the potential to further elevate aquaculture, while solving feed challenges across multiple industries at a large scale and sustainably disposing of food scraps. 

The potential of insects

“Due to increasing demand from our loyal and valuable customers, we’re ready for the upcoming acceleration made possible by investments and our partners,” reflects Protix CEO Kees Aarts. “With €45 million in funding, we plan to expand Protix’s production capacity, especially within the aquaculture industry where the main challenge is creating a sustainable, healthy feed. Protix will also deepen its biological and technical R&D and diversify to other markets like food. We are very excited to serve our existing and new customers and we will be seeking great M&A opportunities, work with great organizations and hire the best people.”

Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, founders of Aqua-Spark, have a clear reason for investing, stating: “We’ve been researching the insect industry for many years, and Protix stands out because of its potential to be pivotal in the development of a sustainable aqua-feed solution. We’re selective about the companies we invest in; and Protix fits well with Aqua-Spark’s portfolio and aligns with our mission and values. Combined with excellent potential returns and through its partnership with Buhler, Protix is expected to enable industry acceleration globally. We’re thrilled to be the lead investor in this latest round of funding, which will contribute to the company’s continued growth.”

Rabobank has been involved with Protix from its start, and continues to support the insect company today as the core bank in its latest round of funding. The bank was introduced to Protix through the Dutch Green Tech Fund (currently Shift Invest). As the leading Food & Agribusiness Bank worldwide, with Banking for Food as its core-strategy, Rabobank is concerned with future challenges surrounding world food production.