- FoodTech Weekly
- FoodTech Weekly #168 By Daniel S. Ruben
FoodTech Weekly #168 By Daniel S. Ruben
News on FoodTech, food, and society
FoodTech Weekly #168
I was planning on starting the intro by telling you all about my trip to Helsinki, Finland, last week. I was so excited to e.g. visit Solar Foods’ new and almost completed €40M factory, and learn about how they (simplified) turn air and electricity into a microbial biomass that can be used as an edible protein. It’s magic. It felt like the future.
And I’d probably crack a joke or two about how preschoolers in Finland would beat me in a Finnish spelling bee.
Yes, I know it means Main Entrance.
But then October 7, 2023 happened. Over 1,500 Hamas terrorists broke through the border fence between Gaza and Israel and went on a rampage, killing 1,300+ people — the vast majority Israeli civilians. The terrorists also kidnapped perhaps 150 people, 1/3 of which were foreigners, and brought them back to Gaza. We still don’t know the full extent of the atrocities.
This terror attack is the darkest day in Israeli history. It is the single deadliest event against Jews since the Holocaust. It is also one of the deadliest terror attacks in the world after 9/11.
We’ve sadly seen plenty of major Islamist terror attacks; in NYC, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, London, Istanbul, Mumbai, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, and so on. What made the October 7 terror attack even more evil and unprecedented is that the terrorists showed no mercy, killing also babies, children, and the elderly in gruesome ways (which we know because the terrorists proudly recorded videos of their actions and uploaded much of it). The whole thing, the systematic killings, is reminiscent of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen.
Writing about the future of food suddenly felt insignificant, so I had to address the above events. It would be insensitive not to.
Whatever your thoughts are on Israel, we can never let terrorist organizations gain a foothold. When they do, they sooner or later attack us all, in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere.
There is too much hate in the world. And I don’t have a solution for this particular conflict. It’s long, complex, and both sides have done many wrongs over the years. I believe Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to have peace, prosperity, opportunity, dignity, and self-determination, where the rights of minorities and women are protected.
And I believe this vision is absolutely incompatible with Hamas.
This week's rundown:
BlueNalu lands a big catch of $33.5M to bring cultivated tuna to market; Wanda Fish reels in $7M for cultivated whole-cut tune filet
Big funding rounds for Eden Brew of Australia, and Bon Vivent of France, which both use precision fermentation to produce dairy proteins
Why you should invest with an unattractive stock fund manager (NB: Not investment advice)
Let's dig in.
Not this week. Soon!
San Jose, California-based Bonsai Robotics, founded last year, has harvested $13.5M in fresh funding led by Acre Venture Partners. The company’s technology allows farmers to operate their equipment autonomously, without GPS, in adverse conditions that have e.g. dust, debris, and heavy vibration.
Wanda Fish Technologies of Israel has reeled in $7M in Seed funding (bringing total capital raised to $10M); the company will now initiate pilot production of cultivated bluefin whole-cut tuna filet. The round was led by Aqua-Spark, and joined by e.g. The Kitchen Hub, Peregrine Ventures, and CPT Capital.
Catalonia, Spain has announced a first Center for Innovation in Alternative Proteins (CiPA), with €7M ($7.3M) in funding. It aims to become a leading southern European hub for research and innovation into ingredients, food, and feed alternatives to animal proteins.
U.K. cultivated seafood company BlueNalu has raised a $33.5M Series B round. Once BlueNalu receives regulatory approval, it plans to launch its first commercial product, cultivated premium bluefin tuna toro.
Italian aquaponic startup The Circle has clinched a further €2.1M from Opes Italia and Sparviero Holding, bringing its total funding to €3.6M (appr. $3.8M). The company will build and run aquaponic salad and herb production facilities in Rome and Milan.
PheroSyn (whose CEO I interviewed last month) was named winner of the 2023 Radicle Inclusion Challenge, securing a $750K investment. The company was also just awarded an Innovate UK ‘Better Food for All’ grant in collaboration with some other partners (total project grant is £463k; the PheroSyn portion of that is £103k).
InvaFresh of Canada has acquired industry peer Whywaste, a Swedish tech company that provides solutions for markdowns and food waste management for grocery retail, for stores in 40 chains globally (e.g. ASDA, Tesco One Stop, SPAR International and Coop Sweden). The acquisition sum is undisclosed; sources to FoodTech Weekly claim it was less than what investors had put into Whywaste.
Eden Brew of Australia, which uses precision fermentation to produce an animal-free casein micelle, has scooped up $24.4M in Series A funding, led by Main Sequence Ventures and backed by e.g. Digitalis Ventures and Orkla. The company, which is co-owned by Australia’s oldest and largest dairy cooperative Norco, plans to bring milk-based products to market. In related news, Bon Vivant of France, which also produces dairy proteins using precision fermentation, announced a $15.9M Seed round led by Sofinnova Partners and Sparkfood.
Swedish startup Deligate has placed ‘Eat Soon’ minifridges in 30+ grocery stores in Sweden. Consumers can then buy items with short expiry dates, helping stores to cut food waste and optimize profits. As ‘Eat Soon’ uses dynamic pricing, the price gets lower the closer an item gets to the expiry date. Deligate is now expanding to grocery chains in Denmark, Belgium, and The Netherlands.
Spray drone service provider Rantizo has raised a $6M expansion of its Series A round, led by Leaps by Bayer. The company connects demand and supply for ag spray drone services by selling drones, support, software, and training to ag retailers and drone operators.
Spanish black soldier fly producer Bioflytech says its second, €22M ($23.1M) production plant in the country that goes live in a few weeks will be able to produce 4K tons of insect meal and 1K tons of insect fat every year. The ingredients can be used as e.g. animal feed, in cosmetics, and in pharma.
FlexSea of London has netted €2.3M in funding to replace fossil plastics with a seaweed-derived material.
News from the FoodTech Weekly community
Michroma (Argentina) are hiring a People & Culture Manager… Cultimate (Germany) is recruiting for several open roles… Eatable Adventures (Spain) is looking for a Food Technologist… Arrakis Bio (Israel) has an open position for a Researcher (biologist).
Escencia Foods hosted what they say is Europe’s first mycelium seafood tasting at Anuga this week.
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A white-collar criminal in Britain who gained $913K through tax and mortgage fraud spent over $141K on collectible pottery.
Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University have found that stock fund managers that are unattractive outperform funds with attractive managers by over 2% per annum (lots of fun stuff to unpack in this FT article).
The likelihood of being vegetarian may be influenced by genes (h/t Azeem Azhar).
On Sep 30, 2023, rooftop solar panels provided enough electricity to meet all of South Australia’s demand during the early afternoon.
Police in Slovakia have fined the owner of a car going 11km (6.8mi) an hour over the speed limit in the village of Šterusy, after a speed camera appeared to show a dog behind the wheel. The police warned that ‘even a small animal can endanger your life and health while driving.’
I love you.
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