German insect startup closes investment to scale up insect production on farms
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
FarmInsect, a German startup that enables farmers to produce protein-rich feed from regional residues using insect larvae, closed a seven-figure financing round, led by High-Tech Gründerfonds and Bayern Kapital, to establish a production site for breeding larvae and larvae rearing facilities on-site to farmers. The round is also supported by 5x Ventures, Genea Invest, the Industrial Innovators Initiative, and notable business angels. The round was co-launched by Bay-StartUP.
The startup was founded by Technical University of Munich (TUM) graduates Thomas Kuehn, Wolfgang Westermeier and Andre Kloeckner with the vision of making agriculture more sustainable. “We see ourselves as a partner to farmers to be able to produce regional and very sustainable protein feed for pigs, chickens and fish,” explained Thomas Kuehn, founder and managing director of FarmInsect. “Our goal is to replace fishmeal and soy to 100% with insect larvae.”
For this purpose, the protein-rich larvae are raised directly on-site with the livestock where food residues are abundant, which would otherwise be considered as waste. The complex steps of laying eggs are managed through a regular supply of young larvae by FarmInsect, thus reducing the cost of heavy machinery and management of biological processes for farmers.
FarmInsect has been developing the process since 2019 at the TUM Venture Lab with their first pilot at a regional fish farmer. This year, the first insect rearing plants will be delivered to customers. To ensure the supply of young animals to the plants, part of the investment will be used to build a new, state-of-the-art egg-laying facility in the Munich area.
“We see the use of local residues as feedstock for insects as a promising business model with enormous scaling potential,” said Maximilian Bock, investment manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds. “FarmInsect can thus already operate economically compared to the competition and make a noteworthy contribution to combating resource scarcity and climate change.”
Photo caption: FarmInsect team.
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