Israeli foodtech start-up InnovoPro, the developer of a revolutionary technology designed to extract a 70% protein concentrate from chickpeas, has raised $4.25 million in a round of funding led by Swiss retail giant Migros and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) chairman Erel Margalit.
InnovoPro intends to use the finance injection announced on Tuesday to scale production, support sales and expand into strategic global markets. Additional investors included Chinese foodtech venture capital fund Bits x Bites, Ran Tuttnauer, Singapore’s ID Capital and Spain’s Yara Ventures.
The company’s innovative non-GMO chickpea-based protein concentrate, which is highly nutritional and has no aftertaste, has various applications, including as a dairy alternative, meat substitute, for snacks and mayonnaise. The first products are due to reach supermarket shelves in 2019.
Rather than seeking to establish itself as a key player in the $40 billion plant-based protein market alone, InnovoPro is targeting the $900 billion meat, fish and poultry market, where consumers are increasingly looking to reduce meat and dairy consumption while maintaining a high protein intake.
“The growing demand for plant-based protein is setting new records with every year that goes by,” said Taly Nechushtan, founder and CEO of InnovoPro.
“We believe that developing a tasty, gluten-free food ingredient could provide the answer to the rising demand for plant-based protein products,” she added.
“In view of the global food scarcity issues, the world cannot continue consuming meat and dairy food as it does today,” said Margalit.
“As the world’s population continues to grow, we need to find new, sustainable food solutions. InnovoPro’s development is a global breakthrough poised to revolutionize the way the world consumes protein.”
Margalit’s JVP has spearheaded recent government-backed efforts to transform Israel into a world leader in the field of food innovation. In July, Margalit announced the establishment of a foodtech accelerator and hi-tech park in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, which received NIS 110 million in state funding for the city and the Upper Galilee region.
According to Start-Up Nation Central, there are currently over 250 foodtech start-ups in Israel. In May, Haifa-based flavor and ingredient company Frutarom was acquired by American company International Flavors & Fragrances in a deal worth $7.1 billion.