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Proeon founders
Proeon co-founders Kevin Parekh (left) and Ashish Korde (right). Image credit: Proeon

India’s Proeon raises $2.4m seed funding to supply plant-based protein industry

September 7, 2021

Proeon, a startup devleoping a range of plant-based proteins for food manufacturers, has raised $2.4 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Shaival Desai, vice president of advanced products and marketing at restaurant management platform Petpooja.

Several other angel investors participated in the round, including Sanjaya Mariwala, managing director of nutraceuticals company OmniActive Health Technologies, as well as VC firms Flowstate Ventures, Peak Sustainability Ventures, and Waoo Partners.

Founded in 2018, Proeon is creating what it calls “high quality” base ingredients for the plant-based protein industry with “superior nutritional, functional, and sensory properties.” Its product range includes proteins derived from amaranth, chickpea, hemp seed, and mung bean.

The Pune-based startup says its technology helps to solve “critical formulation challenges at the ingredient level, making it easier for food companies to make tastier and healthier plant-based meat, dairy, and egg replacement products.”

It works with its customers to select and adapt suitable protein ingredients in order to get the right balance of attributes like solubility, emulsification, and gelation.

Proeon says it is collaborating with brands in Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia on “highly functional” plant-based egg as well as “clean-label” burgers, patties, and dairy alternatives.

“By relentlessly focusing on innovation and partnering with large global brands as well as startups, we are working towards creating food products that are hassle-free to formulate, and are loved by consumers,” founders Kevin Parekh and Ashish Korde said in a statement.

“We are at the center of creating next-gen plant protein ingredients and are delighted with the trust shown by our investors.”

Proeon will use the seed capital to fuel its growth plans. This includes the establishment of an R&D facility in the Netherlands, as well as intellectual property filings and hires to build out the team.

The startup’s geographical focus will be on expanding its presence in Europe and North America, where it sees uptake of plant-based protein products among consumers and manufacturers alike “accelerating at an unprecedented pace.”

No market for alt-protein in ‘veggie’ India? Think again, study says – read more here

India’s alt-protein and novel foods segment has undergone something of a mini-boom in recent months.

According to AgFunder data, investment into the ‘Innovative Foods’ category in the country was so insignificant in the 2019-2020 financial year that it didn’t feature in the firm’s 2020 India Agrifood Startup Investment Report [disclosure: AgFunder is AFN‘s parent company.]

But funding has certainly seen an uptick since then. In July, Udaipur-based GoodDot secured an undisclosed amount of funding from investors including Sixth Sense Ventures for its lineup of plant-based analogs for beef, chicken, and mutton. Faridabad’s plant-based seafood specialist Mister Veg netted $560,000 funding in April; while Mumbaikar egg replacement startup Evo Foods has raised over $1 million since the start of this year.

And, just in the past 24 hours, Bengaluru-based Goodmylk — which produces milk, yogurt, and cheese from peanut and other plant sources — has announced the close of a $1 million seed round.

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