MicroHarvest announces strategic partnership with Simon Capital to accelerate path to commercialization
May 5, 2023 - 5 min read
- Strategic partnership will provide MicroHarvest with invaluable expertise, accelerating the scale-up and manufacturing of its award-winning sustainable protein
- New investment brings total funding raised by MicroHarvest to over EUR 10M
- Announcement of partnership with Simon Capital coincides with the launch of new Lisbon office on May 4th, marking a significant milestone in journey towards commercialization
Lisbon, May 5th 2023 – Award-winning agrifoodtech start-up, MicroHarvest, a leading biotech company on a mission to champion the protein ingredients of the future, has announced a new partnership with Simon Capital. The partnership will strengthen the teams’ operational know-how within the food and production space and bring in additional funds to fuel the company’s growth.
After successfully closing a EUR 8.5M Series A financing round last September, led by Astanor Ventures, FoodLabs, Happiness Capital and Faber, MicroHarvest has raised EUR 1.5M from new investment partner Simon Capital.
Katelijne Bekers, MicroHarvest Co-Founder & CEO, commented on the announcement: “Choosing the partnership with Simon Capital will bring a significant long-term edge to the growth of MicroHarvest. Simon Capital doesn’t just bring extra funding: through them, we gain access to an incredibly experienced team who understands the ins and outs of a manufacturing company in the food & beverage space. We share a result-oriented mindset and are purpose-driven, with the bold ambition of building a resilient food system. I believe this combination of operational and cultural match is what makes this partnership a critical milestone for our company’s success.''
The investment, which will bring the total funding into the Hamburg-and-Lisbon-based start-up to over EUR 10M, will allow the company to work towards key commercialization milestones. As part of its efforts to enter the market by the end of 2023, the company is building a pilot plant at its new location in Lisbon. This plant will enable them to produce prototypes and accelerate research, as production is being ramped up together with a contract manufacturing partner.
Dr. Friedrich Droste, Managing Partner at Simon Capital, adds: “We are excited to join the MicroHarvest team on their mission to combine best-in-class research know-how and operational expertise for reshaping the B2B protein ingredients industry, by unlocking the full potential of microorganisms. It is impressive to see what the team has built-up in the last months on its path to improving the resilience of tomorrow’s food system and, in addition, driving impact for more sustainable consumption. Simon Capital is looking forward to working closely together with the team and a renowned set of investors.”
MicroHarvest operates within the rapidly accelerating sector of fermentation-enabled protein, which saw an investment increase of 37% in Europe in 2022, according to The Good Food Institute data. The company's proprietary technology, based on biomass fermentation, enables production at a speed and efficiency that far exceeds other existing approaches. The result is quality protein ingredients containing over 60% raw protein, which can be produced in 24 hours from input to output, requiring a fraction of the water and land needed for other commercially available alternatives. Applications along the whole protein value chain of B2B ingredients are manifold, ranging from animal feed to direct application in food and pet food.
In its first two years of operation, MicroHarvest has already reached remarkable milestones, including receiving the prestigious BloombergNEF Pioneers Awards for their low-carbon response to alternative protein and demonstrating a significant potential of speed to market. Over the past 12 months, they’ve successfully scaled to a production rate of 300 kilograms (661 pounds) per day and conducted tests on shrimp feed, which yielded encouraging results.
**About Microharvest **
MicroHarvest is a biotechnology company that produces sustainable proteins through microbial fermentation, using agricultural byproducts as feedstock. Their proprietary technology allows them to produce protein ingredients much faster and using significantly less water and space compared to animal or plant-derived ingredients. The dried biomass is then combined with other ingredients to make food products, with applications ranging from feed to pet food and human food.
The company was founded in April 2021 and is led by CEO Katelijne Bekers, Executive MBA with a background in biotechnology, CTO Luisa Cruz PhD, bringing over 10 years leading R&D roles and COO Jonathan Roberz, an experienced entrepreneur who has already successfully built and exited a technology start-up.
Their ambition is to boldly push technological boundaries in the ingredients industry to drive impact across the whole protein value chain.
About Simon Capital
Simon Capital is an early-stage VC firm with a Seed/Series A funds volume of 105 M€ investing in mission driven founders and companies that identify the needs of their customers with innovative business models and disrupting product solutions to shape a better and sustainable future for the next generation. Fka Bitburger Ventures, the VC firm has been investing in three investment verticals: Consumption (waterdrop, share, Just Spices), Wellbeing (Sanity Group, Hello Inside, OC Hairsystems) and Productivity (Magaloop, Ordio). Within these verticals, Simon Capital has been investing in disruptive Food-/Bio-Tech ventures e.g., Mushlabs (Meat), Fermify (Dairy), Wild Earth (Pet Food), and Mighty Drinks (Milk). Simon Capital makes use of its powerful network and expertise rooted in an entrepreneurial family heritage supporting its portfolio companies actively beyond investing to lift new generations of sustainable businesses.