Venture Capital: Ynsect, Which Farms Insects, Snags $372M

October 12, 2020 | News, Venture Capital

Robert Downey Jr.’s tech funding firm is also an investor.

Ynsect is a start-up based in France that farms insects for use as feed for aquaculture and pets, as well as a fertilizer for crops. It is building the world’s largest insect farm in northern France where it will grow mealworms and produce proteins.  It raised $ 224 million in its Series C round which culminated with a total of $ 372 million. (TechEU)

Ynsect claims that the round was larger in size than the amount raised by the entire insect protein sector globally. It is also the largest amount ever raised by a non-American agri-tech business.

The round was led by Astanor Ventures with several other investors participating. The latter included Robert Downey Jr’s FootPrint Coalition and Upfront Ventures, the first U.S.-based investors in the project.

How it works – sustainably produced proteins

Ynsect uses a patented process to cultivate mealworms from which it derives products such as highly digestible protein and fertilizers.

These sustainably produced proteins are an excellent substitute for animal proteins that are currently consumed in fresh and livestock farms as well as in pet food.

According to the company, which cited the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, consumption of animal proteins will grow by 52% between 2007 and 2030. This poses a serious risk to the global ecosystem in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of water, and deforestation to free up land.

The company revealed in a statement:

  • The new funding and over $105M in sales contracts recognize the significant yield and health benefits of the Molitor mealworm versus other insect species, and in particular the black soldier fly
  • By cultivating mealworms in a vertical farm, Ÿnsect uses 98% less land while significantly reducing the carbon & biodiversity footprints of protein production
  • The Ÿnsect process is designed for a circular economy as it generates zero waste mean
  • ing everything which is produced is sold
  • In fact, the analyses carried out by the Quantis firm show that the Ÿnfarm project is carbon negative, has a sequestered value chain, and avoids more CO2 emissions
  • The use of its proteins has resulted in a 34% increase in yield for rainbow trout, a 40% mortality reduction on shrimp; a 25% increase in yield for rapeseed; a 25% mortality reduction for seabass; and a reduction in skin disease for dogs.

Use of funds

With the money, Ynsect will build out the largest insect farm in the world in the North of Paris.

At this site, the start-up will produce 100,000 tons of insect products annually.

The company also plans to further grow its product lines as well as expand into North America.

Interestingly, the company said it was practically undisturbed by the COVID crisis. Its construction and production continued with minimal disruption.

Related Story:   Pivot Bio, Potential Disruptor of Synthetic Fertilizers, Collects $100M

Images credit: Ynsect Media Kit                                                

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