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Clara Foods, the food tech that makes eggs without chickens, has recently received a US$8 million venture loan facility. The San Francisco startup says that the funds will be used to build its animal-free sustainable protein platform technology that enables the development of real molecularly identical eggs without the need for chickens.
The US$8 million venture loan was provided by Horizon Technology Finance Corporation, a Connecticut-based venture lending platform specialised in life sciences, sustainability and technology companies and US$5 million has already been deployed. Clara Foods last announced funding in April 2019, when the started closed a US$40 million Series B led by Ingredient Incorporated.
“We appreciate Horizon’s support and confidence in what we are accomplishing at Clara Foods,” said Arturo Elizondo, co-founder and CEO of Clara Foods.
We are excited to bring to market sustainable, ethical and affordable alternative proteins to meet the rapidly expanding consumer demand for animal-free products that help transform our food system from the ground up.Arturo Elizondo, Co-Founder & CEO, Clara Foods
Clara Foods will be using the loan funds to continue its day-to-day operations to build out its animal-free ingredient platform that uses precision fermentation technology. The food tech’s main focus is to produce egg proteins that can match a real chicken egg in terms of taste, texture, functionality and nutrition – all without the need for slaughter and far more sustainable than its conventional factory farmed counterparts.
“We are excited to bring to market sustainable, ethical and affordable alternative proteins to meet the rapidly expanding consumer demand for animal-free products that help transform our food system from the ground up. Horizon’s investment will help facilitate our go-to-market strategy and grow our business.”
While the alternative protein market has undergone major growth in recent years, much of the innovation has been centred on developing meat. Clara Foods is among the few players, alongside fellow San Francisco food tech Eat Just who pioneered the plant-based liquid egg, who are working on a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative to eggs – one of the most widely available and affordable sources of protein globally.
Through its innovative protein platform technology, Clara Foods is making significant progress in creating a remarkable animal-free egg.Gerald A. Michaud, President, Horizon Technology Finance Corporation
Eggs also remain a staple food across the Asian region, home to two of the most populous countries in the world, where billions of eggs are consumed each year, making the opportunity for disruption huge. While India produces a whopping 100 billion eggs annually, in China, the figure is nearing 600 billion.
Several prominent investors are bullish on the potential of Clara Foods’ solution, with The Production Board, Blue Horizon and ingredients giant Ingredion among the startup’s backers.
Commenting on the provision of the venture loan to Clara Foods, president of Horizon Gerald A. Michaud said: “Through its innovative protein platform technology, Clara Foods is making significant progress in creating a remarkable animal-free egg.”
“We expect its products will find a significant audience as consumers continue to increase their consumption of alternative protein sources as well as more sustainable food sources,” Michaud continued. “We are pleased to support Clara Foods in bringing their animal-free proteins to a large and growing market.”
Lead image courtesy of Clara Foods.