FRANCE – Ÿnsect, the French insect-breeding and premium ingredients company has raised US$125 million (€110m) in Series C round to cement its leadership in the global alternative protein space.

The round was led by impact investor Astanor Ventures, and backed by including Bpifrance, Talis Capital, Idinvest Partners, Finasucre and Compagnie du Bois Sauvage.

The farm is the largest by the company and will produce around 20,000 tons of protein annually, also enabling it to step up its their international expansion programme by opening a new factory in North America.  

The company, which turns insects into premium ingredients for fish feed, pet food and organic plant fertilizers is looking to scale up production by building the ‘world’s biggest insect farm in Amiens Metropole, Northern France’.

The funding also aims to expand the company’s reach in the international animal feed market said to be worth US$500 billion globally and increasing due to gradual demand.

The deal said to be the largest-ever ag-tech funding deal outside of the United States and will enable Ynsect expand capabilities in insect production while ensuring a sustainable food system and meet the rising demands of global protein consumption.

Investment in premium nutrition

Global protein consumption is predicted to surge by 52% between 2007 and 2030 and this is boosted by growing investments in aquaculture.

Ynsect farms small common beetles known as mealworms (Molitor) to address the growing need for sustainable, premium nutrition for animals such as shrimp, salmon, trout, and sea-bass.

“Ÿnsect is becoming the world’s largest insect producer, whatever the species, thanks to our unique highly scalable and pioneering technology,” said Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect CEO & Chairman.

“Enabled by deep tech, the entire production process, from feeding to controlling the health and welfare of our insects, and from the sensors used for quality control to harvesting mature insects is automated.

We have 25 patents covering our technology, the products themselves and their different applications, giving Ÿnsect the world’s largest insect patent portfolio.

But ultimately, we need scale to have a significant impact globally, which this investment will allow us to achieve.”

Insect as food is getting traction in the international market especially in Europe, and increasingly in Asia, while in some regions it has the potential to address food insecurity.

“By offering an insect protein alternative to traditional animal and fish-based feed sources, Ÿnsect can help offset the growing competition for ocean fish stock required to feed two billion more people by 2050, while alleviating fish, water and soil depletion, as well as agriculture’s staggering 25% share of global greenhouse gas emissions,” added Antoine Hubert.

The Series C round brings total raised by the company to US$175 million.