ADM and Danone backs US biotech startup in US$33m series of funding

USA – Sustainable Bioproducts, an American protein biotechnology firm has raised US$33 million in Series A financing led by Silicon Valley-based venture fund, 1955 Capital.

Other participants in the round included ADM Ventures, the venture investing arm of Archer Daniels Midland Company, Danone Manifesto Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures- a US$1 billion fund led by Bill Gates, Lauder Partners and the Liebelson family office.

Sustainable Bioproducts’ technology was developed following research into extremophile organisms that live in Yellowstone National Park’s volcanic springs.

Its work involves use of a fermentation process to produce lab-grown protein, a popular technology investment looking to address the need for more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional farm-grown meats.

“We have witnessed incredible growth in the demand for new proteins in recent years and believe Sustainable Bioproducts has the most compelling and efficient solution to satisfy this demand,” said Chung, managing partner of 1955 Capital.

“This demand will not only come from the West, but from the developing world where the need for protein will become more severe.”

Sustainable Bioproducts started as a research project from NASA and emerged from a research at Yellowstone national park where they studied microbes that could survive in very extreme environments.

The fermentation process is used to efficiently grow edible protein from microscopic organisms, with hopes to promote a sustainable alternative to meat.

The startup, located out of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is yet to commercialize its operations.

“Curiosity and a passion for exploration led us to Yellowstone, one of the harshest ecosystems in the world,” said Thomas Jonas, Sustainable Bioproducts’ CEO and cofounder.

“By observing how life optimizes the use of resources in this challenging environment, we have invented a way to make protein that is radically more efficient and gentler on our planet.”

It hopes to join other startups like Bill Gates backed Memphis Meats, who makes lab-grown chicken and duck meat.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, two other heavily venture backed startups, are making beef-like protein from plants.

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