In a significant move towards sustainable food production, Vienna-based FoodTech startup Kern Tec has successfully raised €12 million in a Series A funding round. The company specializes in upcycling stone fruit pits—commonly considered waste—into valuable food ingredients. This investment marks a pivotal moment not only for Kern Tec but also for the broader food industry, emphasizing the growing importance of sustainability and waste reduction.
The Funding Details
The Series A round was spearheaded by Telos Impact and saw participation from PeakBridge Growth 2 fund and the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund. Kern Tec plans to utilize the funds to scale up its production and commercialization efforts, particularly focusing on sustainable ingredients for plant-based dairy and confectionery products.
Addressing a Pressing Issue
Each year, Europe discards approximately 500,000 metric tons of stone fruit pits, such as those from apricots, plums, and cherries. Kern Tec's innovative technology aims to transform this waste into food-safe and sustainable ingredients, thereby contributing to a more circular and resilient food system.
A Word from the Leadership
Luca Fichtinger, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Kern Tec, expressed enthusiasm about the investment, stating, "This investment will accelerate our global scaling capabilities and enable more products to the market that are derived from the valuable stone fruit seeds. This will scale our impact of reducing waste, while unlocking further growth in the plant-based dairy industry."
Founded in 2019, Kern Tec employs a unique series of proprietary processing steps to extract valuable oils and proteins from neglected stone fruit pits. These ingredients are then transformed into base compounds for alternative dairy products like plant-based milk, yogurt, and cheese. The company has already secured purchase orders worth millions of euros for its groundbreaking ingredients.
Investment Manager at Telos Impact, Guillaume Boury, noted, "This investment is consistent with our desire to back inspiring founders and companies developing long-term sustainable competitive advantages." Erich Sieber, Co-Founder and General Partner at PeakBridge, also praised Kern Tec's initiatives, stating that they "pave the way for responsible production and consumption."
Svetoslava Georgieva, Chair of the EIC Fund Board, highlighted the unique financing model of the EIC Fund, which combines grants and equity, as a strong force in EU deep-tech investments.
Kern Tec's Series A funding is more than just a financial boost; it's a testament to the growing awareness and need for sustainable practices within the food industry. By turning food waste into valuable ingredients, the company is not only contributing to waste reduction but also propelling the food industry towards a more sustainable and responsible future. With strong backing and a clear vision, Kern Tec is well-positioned to lead the way in this transformative journey.