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MicroHarvest Bags Funding and Launches New Pilot Plant

German-based agrifood tech startup MicroHarvest has raised €1.5 million ($1.6 million) and announced a strategic partnership with venture capital firm Simon Capital.

The startup also recently closed its Series A funding round of €8.5 million ($9.3 million) from Astanor Ventures, FoodLabs, Happiness Capital, and Faber VC bringing the capital's total to more than €10 million.

MicroHarvest will use the fresh capital to increase production, scale, and commercialize its sustainable protein ingredient by launching a new pilot plant in Lisbon to create prototypes and fuel research. The company will also accelerate production in partnership with its current co-manufacturing partner. In addition to the funding, the partnership will also improve MicroHarvest's operational capabilities.

"Choosing the partnership with Simon Capital will bring a significant long-term edge to the growth of MicroHarvest," said Katelijne Bekers, co-founder and chief executive officer at MicroHarvest. "Simon Capital doesn't just bring extra funding: through them, we gain access to an incredibly experienced team who understands the ins and outs of a manufacturing company in the food & beverage space. We share a result-oriented mindset and are purpose-driven, with the bold ambition of building a resilient food system. I believe this combination of operational and cultural match is what makes this partnership a critical milestone for our company's success."

Using a proprietary technology based on biomass fermentation, MicroHarvest produces fermented proteins for food, pet food, and animal feed. The company stated that the finished proteins contain more than 60% raw protein, can be produced in 24 hours, and require a fraction of the water and land needed for other commercially available alternatives.

"We are excited to join the MicroHarvest team on their mission to combine best-in-class research know-how and operational expertise for reshaping the B2B protein ingredients industry, by unlocking the full potential of microorganisms," said Friedrich Droste, Ph.D., managing partner at Simon Capital. "It is impressive to see what the team has built-up in the last months on its path to improving the resilience of tomorrow's food system and, in addition, driving impact for more sustainable consumption. Simon Capital is looking forward to working closely together with the team and a renowned set of investors."

This young startup, funded in April 2021, has received the BloombergNEF Pioneers Award for its low-carbon alternative protein approach and speed to market. MicroHarvest stated that it has scaled its production to 661 lbs per day in the last 12 months, and its shrimp feed product tests have "yielded encouraging results."


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