Big Idea Ventures invests in African alternative protein companies De Novo Dairy, Mogale Meat

SOUTH AFRICA – De Novo Dairy, the first African company to use precision fermentation technology to produce nature identical, animal-free dairy proteins that replicate dairy in function and nutrition has landed its first investment from Big Idea Ventures (BIV).

Based in South Africa, De NoVo uses the novel technology to create animal-free cheese, yoghurt and ice cream.

The company was among the seventeen early-stage startups that were selected for pre-seed investment as part of Big Idea Ventures’ bi-annual accelerator program.

Big Idea Ventures is a global leader in early stage investing in the food technology sector

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Its first fund, the New Protein Fund (US$50M+ AUM) invests in global alternative protein companies at the pre-seed stage via its accelerator program and seed to series A via direct investment.

New Protein Fund I is backed by leading food corporations including AAK, Avril, Bel Group, Bühler Group, Givaudan, NR Instant Produce, Meiji, Tyson Ventures, and Temasek Holdings.

To date, Big Idea Ventures has invested in more than 65 alternative protein companies across 17 countries.

“Innovation in alternative proteins continues to advance globally helping to solve big challenges with big ideas.

“The entrepreneurs we support have real solutions to climate and food challenges, Big Idea Ventures is investing in the best companies around the world, and these developments could not arrive at a more critical moment for us all,” said Andrew D. Ive, Founder and Managing General Partner of Big Idea Ventures.

Other than De NoVo, Mogale Meat, Africa’s first cultivated game meat company, developing real meat products from southern Africa’s antelope, poultry and free-roaming cattle species, using advanced cellular agriculture technologies, also received the pre-seed investment.

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Their proprietary biobank of stem and satellite cell lines is sourced from free-range livestock and wild antelope and poultry species, each valued for their unique flavour and health benefits.

By investing in southern Africa’s rich biodiversity with minimal impact, Mogale Meat Co distinguishes itself from existing competitors by expanding culinary diversity of cell cultured meat.

17 startups launching innovative solutions to feed the world

The Investments were made through the firm’s New York and Singapore offices and the firm’s newest office in Paris, which opened early 2021.

De NoVo is one of the Cohort under the New York Accelerator alongside Fybraworks Foods, producer of real animal meat proteins via microbes; Prosel Biosciences, leverages microalgae to sustainably produce bioidentical food proteins and selenoprotein-modified industrial enzymes; BetterMilk, maker of whole milk with mammary cells; Liven Proteins, producer of animal-free functional protein ingredients by fermenting agriculture; and Maya Milk, uses precision fermentation to produce animal origin-free dairy proteins and fats.

“This year, we’re seeing smart solutions to improve current alternatives and expedite their time to market.

“Each company in our New York program is addressing at least one barrier to mass-market commercialization, from price and scalability to performance and nutritional content,” Mia Medicus, Program Director, BIV New York said.

BIV’s Singapore office backed Phyx44, a cellular agriculture startup creating dairy alternatives using precision fermentation; LILO, New Zealand fruit technology company creating permissibly indulgent snacks from low grade and waste fruit; Fisheroo, Southeast Asia’s first cell-based fish company; and Mogale Meat.

Meanwhile the Paris Cohorts include Bright Biotech, using cutting edge science to de-bottleneck the supply and reduce the cost of growth factors to speed up the delivery of cell-based meat; Green-On, makes ultra-sustainable saturated fat and fatty acids using only carbon dioxide, electricity and a small amount of water; Little Bandits, first dairy and soy-free brand for children in the UK.

The Paris Cohorts also feature Luyef Biotechnologies, cell-based meat company using molecular biology and photonics to produce the next generation of cell-based meat; The VERY Food, delivers quality plant-based ingredients for cooking: eggs, butter and cream; YOFI, French food-tech startup offering a delicious range of organic milk alternatives using sustainable, nutritious and tasty peas to offer good quality drinks with high nutritional value. MOA foodtech, combines biotechnology and artificial intelligence to transform waste and by-products of the agrifood industry into a ”next generation protein ” with high nutritional value and 100% sustainability.

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