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Israeli food tech startup ChickP, which is focused on sustainable plant proteins made from chickpeas, has announced that is has successfully closed $8 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Genisys Capital Private Ltd. Singapore-based strategic partner Growthwell Foods also participated. The young company’s funding to date totals $10 million.
ChickP also shared the appointment of a new CEO: Liat Lachish Levy brings with her two decades of high-level FMCG experience, within the retail and foodservice sectors. The Series A funding will allow Lachish Levy to approach global expansion with an ambitious attitude.
Continuing upwards in the alt-protein sector
ChickP spent much of 2021 scaling up. The company was born in 2016 out of a desire to create a sustainable protein source. It was the brainchild of Ram Reifan, a doctor with specific expertise in the area of human nutrition. Developed ingredients have been created using patented technology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but global expansion has already begun.
“As ChickP enters the European and the US markets in ‘full steam,’ it pleases me to welcome Liat as our new CEO, and to bring her leadership and commercial experience to leading the company’s strategy for the years to come,” Ram Reifen, founder of ChickP said in a statement. “ChickP offers an innovative plant-protein ingredient, backed by research and supported by a highly talented team of foodTech, nutrition, and R&D experts. It has all the components for success in meeting the growing demand for plant-based nutrition.”
In 2021, ChickP opened an office in Singapore, to better cater to the growing Asian demand for plant-based protein. Israeli production ramped up to allow for 5,000 metric tonnes of chickpea protein isolate to be produced annually. A partnership with Illinois-based food ingredient firm Socius Ingredients was announced last year and acts as a basis for the expansion that is set to come.
Claiming new territory
Lachish Levy has expressed her excitement in joining ChickP. In a press statement, she thanked investors for their confidence during an administrative switch-up. She noted that leading the company into the global market is a welcome challenge. “Over the past few months, ChickP has been planting the seeds for accelerated growth in the US, Europe, and Asia,” Lachish Levy said in a statement. “This investment will bring greater scale-up and commercialization capabilities with our partners for our chickpea isolate ingredient, in multiple territories. Moreover, the expansion of ChickP’s team and opening of our new offices, including an R&D center and applications lab, will support local commercial activities.”
As demand soars for meat and dairy alternatives, ChickP considers itself to be a potential partner for countless other companies. It already supplies investor Growthwell Foods, for its newly-launched HAPPIEE! brand. It cites a neutral taste and allergen-free formulation for being a versatile ingredient in countless applications, including plant-based meats, dairy, and sports nutrition. Production capacity was recently doubled with the opening of a brand new BRC-approved facility.
Chickpeas to the front
ChickP is not alone in recognising the potential of the seemingly innocuous legume. Over in San Francisco, NuCicer has developed a strain of super chickpeas, capable of leveraging 75 percent more protein than average. Created without genetic modification, the variety has been 10 years in the making and offers the potential to surpass soy, wheat, and pea as the leading plant-based protein source.
Chickpeas are being used across various applications already. From alternative dairy to egg white replacer and even vegan Nutella, they are considered something of a star ingredient.
All images courtesy of ChickP.