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$125 million to secure the "world's largest" insect farm

French insect protein producer, Ÿnsect, secures $125 million to become "world leader" in alternative protein.

21 February 2019, at 12:17pm

Ÿnsect, the ag-tech innovator that specialises in breeding insects and transforming them into premium ingredients for fish feed, pet food and organic plant fertilisers, announces today that it has raised a $125 million (€110m) Series C round to scale up production by building the world’s biggest insect farm in Amiens Metropole, Northern France and develop the company internationally, particularly in the North American market.

Led by Astanor Ventures – and backed by established international funds including Bpifrance, Talis Capital, Idinvest Partners, Finasucre and Compagnie du Bois Sauvage – this investment is the largest-ever ag-tech funding deal outside of the United States.

With a mission to tap into the natural goodness of insects at mass-market scale to help create a sustainable food system and meet the rising demands of global protein consumption – which is predicted to surge by 52 percent between 2007 and 2030 – Ÿnsect was co-founded in 2011 by CEO Antoine Hubert, a 36-year-old agronomist, Jean-Gabriel Levon, Alexis Angot and Fabrice Berro, with the aim of becoming the global leader in the market for alternative protein sources.

At capacity, Ÿnsect’s largest farm to date will produce around 20,000 tons of protein annually. Alongside this new facility at Amiens, the investment will also enable Ÿnsect to step up their international expansion programme by opening a new factory in North America.

“Our goal is simply to give insects back their natural place in the food chain,” says Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect CEO and Chairman.
“Our goal is simply to give insects back their natural place in the food chain,” says Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect CEO and Chairman.

“Ÿnsect is becoming the world’s largest insect producer, whatever the species, thanks to our unique highly scalable and pioneering technology,” says Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect CEO & Chairman.

“Enabled by deep tech, the entire production process – from feeding to controlling the health and welfare of our insects, and from the sensors used for quality control to harvesting mature insects – is automated. We have 25 patents covering our technology, the products themselves and their different applications, giving Ÿnsect the world's largest insect patent portfolio. But ultimately, we need scale to have a significant impact globally, which this investment will allow us to achieve.”

Maïlys Ferrere, head of Large Venture Investment and Gilles Schang, deputy director of Echotechnologies fund, explains: “This latest financing round will allow Ÿnsect to be the first player to reach full commercial scale in the insect-based protein industry for animal feed. We are excited to continue Bpifrance’s support, that started in 2014 with Bpifrance’s cleantech-focused fund Ecotechnologies, with Large Venture.”

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Matus Maar, co-founder and managing partner at Talis Capital adds: “With the global population expected to grow to nine billion by 2050, current acquaculture and animal feeding practices are unsustainable. Ÿnsect taps into a huge, yet highly inefficient global market by offering a premium and – above all - sustainable insect-derived product through a fully automated, AI-enabled production process. Of the many things that excite us about Antoine and the Ÿnsect team, their 50+ years combined experience in insect farming, physiological entomology and biochemistry, we believe, is unmatched.”