Israel-based Equinom raised new capital in a $20 million Series C round Tuesday to continue developing its non-GMO seed breeding technology aimed at making “smarter seeds” for plant-based foods.
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Phoenix Insurance Co. led the round, and was joined by Fortissimo Capital, BASF Venture Capital, Trendlines Group and Maverick. The new cash infusion brings the company’s total funding to $36 million, according to Gil Shalev, founder and CEO of Equinom.
With a background in plant breeding, Shalev said he founded the company in 2012 to develop technology for breeding new varieties of seeds that will yield new ingredients for better nutrition.
“We want to take genes and use a technology, that is non-GMO and non-gene edited, to develop ingredients with multiple traits that are already available in the market,” he told Crunchbase News.
This comes as more consumers are concerned about the kinds of food they eat and how they are made. The market for alternative meat, eggs, dairy and seafood products is predicted to reach at least $290 billion by 2035, according to research by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corp. Food companies are responding to those concerns, with non-GMO seeds being one of the options, Shalev said.
The new funding will enable Equinom to expand its operations in sales, marketing, and research and development across the globe. In October, the company will introduce a new pea protein that will cost 4x lower than similar proteins and be more nutritious, Shalev said.
“This will disrupt the plant protein industry,” he added. “The new funding will help us scale up as we have completed the R&D process.”
Over the past year, the company was executing R&D on sesame plants and breeding alternative legumes. Currently, Equinom has more than 100,000 acres grown across five continents and has secured millions of dollars in contracts with market-leading food brands.
Elad Givoni, head of private equity at Phoenix, said in a written statement that Equinom “is uniquely positioned in the agtech space as a major player who can impact the future of food.
“Through its proprietary technology, distinct methodology and unique genomic database, Equinom is able to create a wide range of products for a broad spectrum of commercial food applications, while ensuring that the products can be quickly adapted to rapidly changing market needs,” he added.
The Equinom team, with founder and CEO Gil Shalev in the middle, as well as inset photo, courtesy of Equinom.
Blogroll illustration: Dom Guzman
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