SPAIN – Cocuus, a Spanish food-tech company, has announced that it has raised €2.5 Million (US$2.68million) in a Pre-Series A funding round to scale up its proprietary 3D printing technology platform for plant-based and cell-cultured meat analogs.
The seeding round was led by Big Idea Ventures, with participation by Cargill Ventures, Eatable Adventures, and Tech Transfer UPV.
Cocuus, which was founded in 2007, said it has developed a toolbox of different 3D printing technologies under its Mimethica platform to enable the printing of different types of foods.
The technology includes Softmimic, a technology targeted at hospitals and eldercare facilities that transforms purees into dishes that look like real food just like vegetable or meat puree shaped into a “steak”.
The LEVELUP, an inkjet printing technology that prints images on drinks like coffee or beer (like Ripples), and LASERGLOW, a laser printer platform that engraves imagery onto food.
But the company’s bioprinting and scaffold-printing technologies, are specifically, the driving interest of investors.
The bioprinting and scaffold-printing technologies, according to the company, will produce new plant-based and cell-based manufacturing processes for businesses working in this space.
The first is Cocuus’ ‘softmimic technology’, which will be a purée tech for older people in nursing homes and hospitals.
Essentially, the technology transforms purées into dishes that resemble real food such as whole meat cuts, that are easier to swallow.
The company plans to kickstart commercialization later this year considering it had already developed its first softmimic prototype and patented the technology in 2019.
Unlike some early 3D food printing systems targeted at creating meat analogs, Cocuus claims it will make use of robotics for the high-volume production of plant-based meats.
Additionally, the company said it utilizes mathematical modeling of meat products to develop analogs and combines automation with 3D printing technology to drive high-production output.
It further highlighted that it has developed the prototypes of 3D printed ribeye and salmon, and based on early indicators, aims to produce 10kg of product per minute.
It has set to start the pilot tests this year but not in a given time frame as well as their commercialization.
The start-up is also using 3D printing technology to create scaffolding for the cell-based meat and fish sector with bio-inks.
Developing a prototype for its scaffolding technology, filing a patent, undergoing laboratory tests, and commercializing the products are all on the cards for 2022.
With the combination of existing revenue-generating businesses and long-term developmental technologies targeted at high-growth markets, the start-up predicts sales will reach €7.4million(US$7.92million) by 2025, with an EBIDTA of €4.4million(US$4.71million).
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