September 21, 2022

Asia’s first industrial insect company, Nutrition Technologies, closes US$20m equity round to launch new products and expand into new markets

On September 19 2022 Nutrition Technologies completed an equity venture round of US$ 20m. The round was led by PTT Ventures and supported by Sumitomo Corporation, ING Sustainable Investments, Mandala Capital, as well as continued participation from existing investors: Openspace Ventures, SEEDs Capital and Hera Capital. The round was advised by ING Corporate Finance. The proceeds will be used to fund an expansion into new markets; launch new products; accelerate R&D; and create new strategic partnerships. 

'Aside from growth in clean-energy, PTT is expanding its portfolio into new businesses corresponding to global trends, sustainability, and social responsibility. We look forward to partnering with Nutrition Technologies to support their next phase of growth. Commercial insect protein production is one of the most important innovations of the past few years, with the potential to disrupt the animal feed and fertiliser sectors and solve multiple issues the world is currently facing. Furthermore, we expect this partnership will provide customers with innovative solutions to revolutionise the agriculture sector as well as improve people's quality of life,' says Dr. Buranin Rattanasombat, Senior Executive Vice President, Innovation and New Ventures, PTT Public Company Limited. 

'We are very excited to partner with Nutrition Technologies, an innovative company that has superior technology to produce sustainable protein. We believe insect protein is one of the most important recent solutions to protein production, contributing to solving various environmental issues and addressing several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will utilise our business platform and customer network to promote and expand the BSF derived products,' says Masahito Uno, GM Life Science Division, Sumitomo Corporation.

'Nutrition Technologies fits well in the investment strategy and portfolio of ING Sustainable Investments, as we seek to assist sustainable companies in scaling their operations. Together with our consortium partners we are also keen to support the company in capitalising on various opportunities in the fast-growing European and Asian markets of alternative proteins,' says Mark Weustink, Head of ING Sustainable Investments. 

'Nutrition Technologies has led the way in delivering black soldier fly solutions at scale and at a price that is competitive on the global markets. It means they are already providing a viable alternative to existing and less sustainable feed options. In achieving that, the team has demonstrated exceptional executional capabilities. Going forward, we have high conviction in their expansion plans,' says Hian Goh, Founding Partner, Openspace Ventures. 

'It is great to welcome our new investors, who collectively bring vast expertise and experience to help us realise our vision. We are also humbled by the continued support provided from our existing shareholders,' says Tom Berry, Co-CEO and Co-founder, Nutrition Technologies. 

The insect sector has gathered increasing attention over the past few years, with the global insect protein market alone estimated to be worth US$343 million in 2021, and expected to grow with a CAGR of 26.49 percent to reach US$1.3 billion by 2027. As a sustainable solution to help minimise multiple unsustainable practices, the sector as a whole has seen investments totalling nearly US$1 billion, but with multiple technological hurdles, few companies are yet to reach industrial scale, let alone profitability. 

Global food security has steadily declined for the past few decades and has been significantly tested in recent years through extreme weather events and war. Population growth has fuelled the current 1.2 billion tonnes demand for animal feed ingredients, which has severe environmental consequences both for land and sea. There is a growing protein deficit, with supplies of traditional proteins for animal feed, such as fishmeal and soybean meal, stagnating due to overfishing and deforestation. Meanwhile, organic matter and food waste in landfills are significant contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, and the overuse of chemical fertilisers is severely reducing the productivity and resilience of crucial agricultural soil. 'Insects represent a virtually unlimited and untapped pool of biological assets, with huge opportunities for value creation.  Tackling food security is only the tip of the iceberg and with our strengthened balance sheet, great partners and best in class IP, we are strategically positioned to lead the next agricultural revolution,' says Richard Hayler, CFO, Nutrition Technologies.

Since 2015, Singaporean agri-biotech company, Nutrition Technologies, has been creating a commercial replica of the natural decomposition process, using their proprietary growth inoculants and black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) to turn low-grade crop & food waste into highly sought after animal feed ingredients and biofertilisers. Their two hectare production facility in Johor, Malaysia, bioconverts several hundreds of tonnes of organic waste every week. The facility produces functional proteins and oils, which have bioactive compounds that efficiently improve animal growth performance and health outcomes. Over the past few years Nutrition Technologies has conducted multiple trials of their products on fish, shrimp, poultry, piglets and pets, with significant results. Their novel biofertiliser products improve soil health while naturally increasing plant resistance to disease, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. The 165-strong team has been scaling up their operations and selling their products into both domestic and regional markets. 'We are increasing production to meet market demand and providing essential ingredients to the domestic agricultural sector as well as boosting exports through shipping our products to Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Chile. We will also commence shipments to the UK and EU very soon,' says Nick Piggott, Co-CEO and Co-founder, Nutrition Technologies. 

Nutrition Technologies' production facilities are a result of over seven years of R&D and their strategic location in the tropics helps to optimise productivity and lower costs. Their proprietary technologies and vertical insect production system are designed to capitalise on the low-energy benefits and suitability of a tropical climate. Their team developed the entire production system, which uses some bespoke automated equipment to ensure strict biosafety, zero-waste and strong unit economics. Through avoided emissions, their products have great potential to help meet global climate change targets. 

Nutrition Technologies has been doubling down on its success in commercialising insect-microbe systems and their approach to protecting that intellectual property has been lauded by IP experts and publications. 'We have had some incredibly exciting breakthroughs over the past two years. Following successful additions to our patent portfolio, we will launch two new revolutionary biological products to the fertiliser market that will address some of the region's greatest challenges in crop productivity,' says Martin Zorrilla, Nutrition Technologies.    

Next Steps
Nutrition Technologies will use these funds to further expand production capacity both at its current operating plant in Malaysia as well as through a new joint-venture project in a soon-to-be-announced second country in Southeast Asia. The Company also intends to expand its R&D capabilities in Singapore; commence commercial activities in the UK and EU; and add several new patents to its existing IP portfolio. 'We believe our technological developments can help address some of the world's most critical problems and are highly motivated to accelerate expansion as quickly as possible. Our novel microbiology solution to insect production allows us to use a wide pool of raw materials which negates the most significant barrier to scaling,' says Charlie Carter, COO, Nutrition Technologies.

For more information about Nutrition Technologies visit the website, HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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