Dutch startup Protix raises €15.5M to breed bugs for aquaculture; right here’s how

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Photo credit: LinkedIn

Many projections suggest that the world population will reach over 9 billion by 2050. This means that current food production must also be doubled. Given the deteriorating scarcity of resources, several foods have been suggested as alternatives, with insects receiving the greatest attention. This is because insects have the amazing ability to turn low-quality food waste into valuable, high-end proteins and fats.

In this context, a Netherlands-based insect breeding startup, Protix, is working to bring the food system back into harmony with nature.

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The financing

In a recent development, the Dutch startup announced it would raise EUR 15.5 million in a new round of funding led by existing aquaculture-focused investor Aqua-Spark.

Rabo Corporate Investments, the Brabant Development Company and the Dutch investment agency Invest-NL also took part in the round.

This is Invest-NL’s first investment of EUR 7.5 million, which makes a direct contribution to the protein transition in the AgriFood sector and also corresponds to the national protein strategy.

What does Protix do?

Founded in 2009 by Kees Aarts, Protix believes in harnessing technology to create the ingredient of the future – insects. The company farms the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) primarily for use in animal and aquaculture forage, with by-products containing food-based fertilizers.

The company claims that the larvae of this particular fly are a unique source of protein for food and feed. Organic waste from the food industry is used as feed for the insects. And in return, the insects are processed into sustainable ingredients such as proteins and lipids.

These nutrients are used by Protix customers as nutritious ingredients in various pet food applications. Insect ingredients are more sustainable ingredients than soy or fishmeal and help prevent overfishing and deforestation for soy growing.

With high-tech solutions, artificial intelligence (AI), genetic improvement programs and robotics, Protix is ​​bringing the food system back into harmony with nature. The products are available in 13 countries and range from pig and poultry feeds to specialty pet foods.

In 2019, King Willem-Alexander officially opened the world’s largest insect farm in Protix in Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands.

Use of funds

The capital raised will enable the company to further optimize its production capacity and accelerate international expansion.

Kees Aarts, Founder and CEO of Protix, says: “Protix was born out of innovation with a focus on positive environmental impact. We are the founder of an entirely new category of proteins and other nutrients and the brilliant colleagues at Protix are at work that day and that night. This is another big step in building our leadership, and there are many more to come in the time to come. “

Supported by the EU

Protix mentioned on its website that it is supported by the European program Plattelandsontwikkelingsprogramma POP3 in the development of intelligent insect breeding technologies.

The project focuses on software and hardware that can improve the efficiency and reliability of insect production. The specific focus is on the development of an integrated software approach for feed and resource use in order to improve the sustainability of insect products.

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