Tel Aviv-based precision fermentation startup Imagindairy has confirmed a $15 million seed extension round following its November 2021’s $13 million raise. Funding will be used for accelerated R&D efforts alongside new personnel hires. The total capital represents one of the largest seed rounds in the alternative protein sector to date.
The additional round was led by Target Global. Existing investors Strauss Group, Emerald Technology Ventures, Green Circle Foodtech Ventures and Collaborative fund participated again.
‘Guilt-free dairy solutions’
This is what Imagindairy calls its products. It is alluding to what it deems to be healthier and environmentally superior dairy products that remove cows from the production process.
Industrial dairy production creates significant greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock products, including meat and dairy, are identified as being responsible for more emissions than any other food source. With this in mind, reducing consumption of said products has become a priority recommendation.
Dairy is said to be responsible for 30 percent of all livestock production emissions. In turn, livestock agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of total anthro[pogenic emissions. The global demand for dairy is predicted to grow up until 2030, which is widely held as a preliminary target for food system emissions reductions.
Alternative ways of producing dairy, including precision fermentation, are being cited as potential solutions to meeting demand without impacting further on the planet.
Imagindairy’s alternative dairy
The Israeli startup is focussed on recreating dairy proteins from microorganisms. No animals are needed during the process. Microbes are precision fermented to produce proteins that work in the same way as conventional cow-sourced ones, to be used in a range of applications. Milk, cheese and other dairy analogues are all possible. Imagindairy claims its alternatives are comparable in taste, texture, functionality and nutrition to regular dairy items, minus the cholesterol.
New funding will be channelled into further developing the food tech’s proprietary platform. It has enabled cost-effective production of dairy proteins already, but more can be done. Appealing to consumer budgets with end-product pricing is a major concern for all within the alternative dairy sector. It is considered one of the last remaining hurdles to mainstream acceptance.
“This extremely successful seed round reflects a strong vote of confidence in Imagindairy and its vision to lead the animal-free dairy industry,” Eyal Afergan, co-founder and CEO of Imagindairy said in a company statement. “This substantial injection of capital will serve to advance our ability to make true dairy alternative products a day-to-day reality.”
More funding on the horizon?
Last year it was revealed that Imagindairy was already eyeing a Series A funding round, despite only just launching its seed raise. At the time, the company noted that it would need to continue scaling to achieve the maximum milk yield possible, ahead of commercial launch. Investors have demonstrated their keenness to participate, via the recently closed seed round.
“We are excited to be able to back the Imagindairy team who have made incredible inroads in creating dairy products that don’t rely on industrialized animal agriculture but offer the same level of functionality and nutrition,” Shmuel Chafets, executive chairman and founder at Target Global said in a statement.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that, given the climate crisis and growing shortage of food, our dietary patterns and habits must change. Animal-free dairy has the potential to become one of the most environmentally impactful industries on the planet. We are strong believers that the Imagindairy team’s vast experience in manufacturing at scale, paired with the cutting-edge technology they have built, will be transformational for this space.”
Precision fermentation scaling up
Fellow Tel Aviv precision fermentation startup Remilk just announced it is building the world’s largest animal-free dairy factory. The news came after a $120 million Series B raise at the start of the year, specifically launched to fund construction. The plant will be built in Denmark, following the acquisition of a 750,000 square foot plot. No deadlines have been released, nor have any projected costs.
All photos by Imagindairy.