Amsterdam, The Netherlands — December 5, 2023: Farmless, the Amsterdam-based fermentation startup, has raised a €4.8 million seed round co-led by World Fund and Vorwerk Ventures. The company, which brews carbon-negative, functional proteins with a complete amino acid profile, will use the funds to build a pilot protein brewery in Amsterdam, develop its fermentation platform, and continue the process of regulatory approval.
Farmless stands out from the crowd in the fermentation sector, because its expert scientific team has found a way to create a protein source with low impact on the environment.
The Farmless process combines the ancient craft of fermentation – which has been used for millennia to brew beer and bake bread – with a modern feedstock (the scientific term for a starter liquid). Whereas most fermentation companies rely on sugar, Farmless uses a feedstock made from CO2, water, nitrogen and renewable energy – completely bypassing the need for agricultural land. This is a major breakthrough. Agriculture has taken over almost half of all habitable land on earth, pushing nature over the brink, and the world needs an affordable protein source that can be produced without the need for agricultural land.
Already, Farmless is able to brew proteins with up to 5000x less land than beef. Long term, its fermentation platform can significantly reduce demand for animal products, help rewild farmland and reforest our planet.
Adnan Oner, the founder and CEO of Farmless, says: "In today's unpredictable world where climate change threatens crop yields, our fermentation platform offers an antifragile solution for food security. Our process allows any country to take control of their protein production, without the need for fertile land. If we unlock the protein producing powers of the microbial kingdoms we can create a future worth getting excited about. We can have an abundant, cruelty-free food supply and rewild the world, restore forests, all while drawing down gigatonnes of CO2 from the air. Our seed round took less than two months from start to term sheet, and we’re excited to find so much investor interest in this important area. We’re thrilled to now have investors on board who share our sense of urgency in creating dramatically better ways of producing proteins on a planetary scale.”
Dr. Nadine Geiser, Principal at World Fund, said: “Moving away from sugar as a feedstock for fermentation represents a significant opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions of fermentation-based food production. At World Fund, we only invest in startups with the greatest climate performance potential - and there is a significant need to reduce emissions in the farming, agriculture and land use category (FALU). The FALU category is responsible for around 22% of emissions globally, but receives just 12% of venture funding for climate, so it’s critical we back more startups like Farmless, which has the potential to drastically reduce land use from agriculture, and to improve biodiversity globally.”
Peter Schmetz, Principal at Vorwerk Ventures, said: “We’re glad to back Farmless’ approach, which leverages molecular biology, food science and physics to develop superior food products that outperform its animal counterparts on all dimensions with significantly reduced climate impact. We’re convinced that the Farmless team will continue to pioneer in making the food industry more sustainable - one of our investment themes at Vorwerk Ventures.“
Today, 77% of agricultural land is used for livestock farming. Further agricultural sprawl is driven by the need to produce monocultures/food to feed those animals set for slaughter. Livestock has become the main (or secondary) cause of biodiversity loss, deforestation, climate change, pesticide use, fresh water depletion, nitrogen runoff and a host of other problems such as antibiotic resistance and pandemics. But despite having all this impact on our ecosystem, meat and dairy provide just 18% of total calories consumed worldwide.
The demand for meat and dairy is set to soar with a growing population, and we need dramatically more efficient, scalable ways of protein production - fast. Farmless’ mission is to accelerate this transition to sustainable proteins.
The company’s goal is to build a fermentation platform with the potential to create an entirely new food repertoire by fermenting naturally occurring microorganisms on a renewable liquid feedstock derived from renewable energy. Its team of scientists has already created an initial product that can be used to create successors to meat, dairy and eggs, and its protein platform is designed to ultimately outperform animal-based proteins on economics.
World Fund is the leading Europe-focused climate venture capital fund established by Daria Saharova, Danijel Višević, Craig Douglas, and Tim Schumacher. From energy, food, agriculture, and land use, to building materials, manufacturing and transport, World Fund is investing in European tech with significant climate performance potential (CPP). The investment team comprises engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, early and growth stage investors. World Fund is backing those entrepreneurs who are building tech for a regenerative world.
Vorwerk Ventures is an independent € 150m Venture Capital Fund with € 400m under management. We invest in founders with sustainable business models that have a positive impact. We define ourselves through a strong commitment towards consumer-facing digital businesses, but we also go beyond and invest in selected B2B companies that match our sector expertise.
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