Thursday, December 15, 2016

Insect farmer raises $15.2 million

A French insect-farming company has just raised another $15.2 million, bringing its total to $37 million.

Founded in 2011 by Alexis Angot, Fabrice Berro, Antoine Hubert and Jean Gabriel Levon, Ynsect is an innovation company which farms to make animal feed.

The company says "in the longer term, (it aims for) human nutrition markets too."

The company employs a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and patented technologies to achieve its “visionary idea: placing insect-derived protein at the heart of the agri-food system to sustainably address the growing global demand for meat and fish.”

The company has designed proprietary technology to farm mealworm larvae, as well as other insects.

Automation and machine-learning software are connected to sensors embedded in the farm to keep growing conditions ideal.

Antoine Hubert and the team will use the new $15.2-million investment to increase capacity at Ynsect’s pilot centre in Jura, France, and to begin preparatory engineering work on the world’s largest insect unit that will have the capacity to produce at least 20,000 metric tons of insect protein a year.

The company’s initial focus has been on early-adopter fish feed and pet food companies, for whom the superior quality and 72 per cent protein content of Ynsect’s TMP – which is the same protein level as that of the highest-grade fish meal – is a major selling point.

Once Ynsect’s new unit begins production, the team expects several large animal feed players to become customers.

“The four of us started the company because we wanted to improve a global food system that is unsustainable and leading to a host of undesired impacts, including growing greenhouse gas emissions, the collapse in oceanic biodiversity and anxieties over food safety and security,” says Antoine Hubert.