Singapore cell-based milk startup TurtleTree Labs raises US$3.2m seed round

SINGAPORE – TurtleTree Labs, a Singapore-based biotech that has developed the world’s first cell-based milk, has raised US$3.2 million in a seed funding round from global investors.

The food tech company’s revolutionary milk production technology attracted investors like Green Monday Ventures, KBW Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures in the seed round – which comes five months after the startup closed its pre-seed round in January this year.

TurtleTree Labs is championing its cell based innovation, creating real milk from mammalian cells, without the need for animals. As a platform, the company said that its focus is on high value human breast milk followed by cow milk.

Over the past year TurtleTree Labs has attracted world class talent, currently boasting a team of more than 20 full-time scientists and engineers with multiple cross-functional teams working in parallel.

With additional support from the Singaporean government, the startup has also been privy to an array of resources that provided TurtleTree Labs with a tremendous financial boost, enabling it to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TurtleTree Labs’ goal of creating milk from animal cells provides a novel solution towards sustainable dairy production globally, which Bernice Tay, Director, Food Manufacturing Division, Enterprise Singapore said would also help to strengthen Singapore’s long-term food diversification efforts.

“We are encouraged that Singapore’s foodtech infrastructure has enabled homegrown startups like TurtleTree Labs to push technological boundaries and obtain quick access to capital.” Bernice said. “We will continue our efforts to develop a vibrant agri-food tech ecosystem in Singapore to encourage the creation of more innovative solutions,”

TurtleTree Labs was founded by Max Rye, originally from the San Francisco Bay, and  Fengru Lin. The start-up raised its initial investment which was led by New York-Hong Kong based Lever VC in 2019, with investors from various geographies.

Max Rye said that the fresh round of funding “will enhance our scale up development, bringing us one step closer to commercialization.”

“KBW Ventures has invested in the seed round building on our initial commitment during TurtleTree’s pre-seed raise. We see the founding team commitment and the potential of this company and its technology as a winning combination.” said Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KBW Ventures.

“Now more than ever, people are waking up to the benefits of food technology and the massive positive implications of innovations in cellular agriculture.”

TurtleTree unique proprietary technology uses mammary cells to produce real, full milk similar to human breast milk and cow milk which the company says will be sold as a food product and allows for not just the full functionality of dairy milk but will disrupt the existing baby formula industry.

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