Israeli food-tech company Equinom has announced a raise of $35 million in funding that it intends to use in order to increase its offering of optimized plant protein ingredients to market.
The capital raise was led by Synthesis Capital, a leading global food technology and alternative protein investor, with additional investment from Praesidium, Bunge Ventures, the for-profit global investment arm of Bunge, BayWa, CPT Capital and returning investors Fortissimo and Phoenix. This brings the total funding for Equinom to over $71 million to date.
The company intends to use the capital raised to accelerate the commercialization of its plant-based protein ingredients which will be sold to food companies via established multinational ingredient suppliers, as well as to develop and produce new varieties of seeds and grains which will be optimized for high protein yield and a variety of other benefits.
“I’m excited to work with Synthesis and our other investors who clearly see the food revolution taking place and the huge opportunity to develop better plant protein ingredients – optimized from the ground up for the relevant food and beverage applications,” said Gil Shalev, Equinom co-founder and CEO.“With this additional investment, we will be able to deliver our message and our next generation [of] non-GMO ingredients to food companies who are ready to unlock category growth by delivering tastier, healthier, sustainable and affordable food options to every plate in the world.”
Equinom develops new ingredients with desirable traits such as coloration, milder taste, and higher protein for food production from source crops including peas and soy. Rather than achieving this via genetic modification, Equinom relies on its proprietary “Manna” platform, which uses advanced algorithms to characterize the biochemical and genomic traits in a vast array of seed varieties.
Paving the way to more alternative protein?
A report published by multinational investment firm UBS has forecasted the global plant-based meat market to reach $51 billion by 2025, which would mean a tripling of its value as of 2019.
However, a key factor in reaching that market size is the development of alternative-proteins which are tastier and cheaper than those currently offered. Another report from UBS identified taste and price point as the two main hurdles preventing more widespread adoption by consumers.
Equinom’s minimally-processed plant proteins could give food companies the material they need to develop offerings that could finally surpass those hurdles, and unlock the full potential of the alternative-meat market. According to some experts, that may be necessary in order to combat the planet’s current climate and population challenges.
“Today’s food system requires significant transformation if we are to slow the effects of climate change and feed a growing population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050,” said Costa Yiannoulis, managing partner and co-founder of Synthesis Capital.“We see alternative proteins as a critical solution and feel energized by [Equinom’s] vision and commitment to address some of the greatest challenges facing the plant-based industry at their source, through innovating to revolutionize traditional inputs into the process.”