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The InnovaFeed facility in Nesle, France. Image credit: InnovaFeed

Brief: French insect farm InnovaFeed scoops up $250m led by Qatar, plans expansion to US

September 21, 2022

  • French insect protein startup InnovaFeed has raised $250 million Series D round of financing.
  • Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, led the investment.
  • InnovaFeed will use the new funds to expand to the US, starting with a forthcoming insect vertical farm in Illinois, with plans to expand to other markets by the end of this decade.

Why it matters

InnovaFeed has major expansion plans on its near-term horizon.

The biotech company already operates two vertical insect farms in France, one in Gouzeaucourt and the other in Nesle. InnovaFeed dubbed the latter “the world’s largest insect production site” with “unprecedented production capacity” when it opened.

These sites use larvae from the black soldier fly to produce proteins and oils for animal and plant feed. 

A third facility is in the works, this one in partnership with ADM to provide ingredients to its pet foods division. The plant will be located in Illinois and produce 60,000 metric tons of protein and 20,000 tons of oils for pet food and livestock feed, in addition to 400,000 tons of fertilizer.

InnovaFeed plans to build 10 more such facilities by 2030.

The US has approved black soldier flies for use in dog food, and the EU allows insects in pig and poultry feed. However, the regulatory market for insect-based protein is still evolving and very much in early days.

InnovaFeed’s funding follows right on the heels of another insect protein startup, Singapore-based Nutrition Technologies, which announced its own $20 million raise this week. Last month, India-based Loopworm closed a seed round, and earlier this year UK startup Better Origin, landed Series A funding for its insect “mini farms.”

All this funding, not to mention the size of InnovaFeed’s most recent raise, suggests that investors are finally starting to broaden their definition of what an alternative protein is.

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