In the global race for insect proteins, Ÿnsect, the Molitor worm specialist, intends to take pole position. To achieve this, the group announced this Tuesday that it had completed its Series C fundraiser, initiated in 2019 for an amount of 110 million euros, with a record funding of 206 million additional (including 16 million in grants). Is 300 million euros brought together thanks to the reinvestment of the Belgian Astanor Ventures or the Hong Kong-based Happiness Capital, but also with a cohort of new entrants, such as the American funds Upfront Ventures and FootPrint Coalition (founded by the famous actor Robert Downey Junior), Supernova Invest or even Armat Group .
A banking pool, made up in particular of the Caisse des Dépôts, Crédit Agricole Brie Picardie and Caisse d’Epargne Hauts-de-France, also participates in the fundraising, considered as “The largest ever by a non-US company in the agricultural sector”, according to Antoine Hubert, president of Ÿnsect.
This shows investor confidence in Ÿnsect’s promise to provide a “green” response to the explosion in global demand for protein. Ten years after the creation of the pioneer in the industrial use of insects, its production, like its turnover (not communicated) or its workforce, remains limited.
For Antoine Hubert, however, takeoff is imminent. As proof, it advances the amount of contracts signed for a total amount of around 90 million euros. “Last June, made us the first actor in the world to have obtained a marketing approval of a natural insect-based fertilizer. Our product, ŸnFrass, can thus be distributed to our customers such as the fertilizer specialist Compo or the wine producer Torres ”, assures the president of Ÿnsect.
Still remains to be manufactured. In Amiens (Somme), the ŸnFarm factory presented as “The largest vertical farm in the world” souldn’t start production only from 2022. The unit will directly employ 120 to 150 people and will have a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year. That is 2% of the potential insect protein needs, estimated by IPIFF, the international association of insect producers, at 5 million tonnes in 2030.
Accelerate in the United States
To finish first in this green gold rush, Ÿnsect will therefore have to step up. In particular in the United States, where it is counting on its new American investors, Upfront Ventures and FootPrint Coalition, to establish itself, although we do not yet know the details of its strategy. “ In Amiens, we will be able to double our production capacities. New products will also be launched in the field of pet food ”, announces Antoine Hubert.
This is also why the manufacturer intends communicate more about the brands integrating its products. As well as the qualities of its process, based on the use of the Tenebrio Molitor beetle. “The environmental balance sheet of our activity is carbon negative, which is a first for vertical farms. In addition, our products lead to a 34% increase in rainbow trout yields, a 40% reduction in shrimp mortality or a 25% increase in rapeseed yields ”, details the leader. From a “Series of independent studies”, these results confirm the superiority of the Ÿnsect technology, protected by some thirty patents, vis-à-vis its competitors. In particular those using the black fly, such as the company Innovafeed, which started production in mid-September at its plant in Nesles, also in the Somme.