Australian precision fermentation company Cauldron, has raised AU$10.5 million to build Asia-Pacific’s largest network of precision fermentation facilities using a revolutionary hyper-fermentation platform.
Cauldron says its new platform, starting in Orange, New South Wales before expanding nationally, will enable mass-scale production of new forms of food, feed, and fiber, and unlock a $700 billion global industry opportunity.
Funding a fermented future
To support this plan, Cauldron has raised AU$10.5 million from local and global investors to fund the expansion of its existing pilot plant, build a national production network, and establish a world-beating team of precision fermentation experts. The funding round was led by Main Sequence, the deep tech venture capital firm founded by CSIRO, and Horizons Ventures. The oversubscribed funding round is one of Australia’s largest seed rounds in a female-founded startup.
Cauldron’s revolutionary hyper-fermentation platform is a breakthrough for the growing industry, helping precision fermentation companies scale and commercialize faster. Cauldron says its platform reduces costs significantly while increasing efficiency by five times compared to conventional methods.
“Humanity has spent thousands of years getting fermentation to work. With Cauldron’s revolutionary ‘fermaculture’ platform, we are supercharging that process and unlocking the next evolution of how we produce food, feed and fibre globally,” Cauldron CEO and founder Michele Stansfield, said in a statement. “Our technology, 35 years of expertise, combined with Australia’s unique infrastructure and abundance of natural resources, will help ensure companies in this space can get new products and ingredients to market quickly, at lower cost and risk.”
According to Cauldron, many companies in the precision fermentation space have struggled to produce at scale. The bacteria and microorganism-based tech can be costly for startups – something Cauldron says it can help offset.
Australia as a fermentation hub
Main Sequence Partner Phil Morle said that if Australia doesn’t tackle this opportunity, others will. “Precision fermentation is already a crucial part of medicines like insulin and many animal feeds but is often done at smaller scale and overseas. Cauldron will serve as a regional powerhouse for production to ensure Australia plays a part in the future of agriculture and other industries,” Morle said.
“We believe Australia has the unique advantages and natural resources to become a world leader in the age of bio-based manufacturing,” said Chris Liu of Horizons Ventures. “Cauldron’s hyper-fermentation platform provides a supercharger in the quest for scalable precision fermentation without sacrificing cost and efficiency, particularly due to its easy access to abundant local feedstock supply alongside a carbon neutral production process.”
Cauldron has already attracted the attention of other Australian biotech companies, including Loam Bio and ULUU. Loam Bio is using Cauldron’s network to accelerate the production of the microbial technology needed to capture carbon and store it long-term, while ULUU is working with Cauldron to scale up production to help get its first products to market faster and replace plastics across a variety of uses.
The company also announced the appointment of David Kestenbaum, former General Partner at ZX Ventures (the CVC arm of AB InBev), as a co-founder and CFO of Cauldron.