Israeli food-tech firm InnovoPro raises US$4.25m for chickpea protein innovation
04 Dec 2018 --- Israeli food-tech company InnovoPro has raised US$4.25 million in funding in a round led by Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer and Erel Margalit, Founder and Chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), a leading Israeli Venture Capital fund. InnovoPro will use the new capital to scale its production, support sales and expand into strategic global markets. InnovoPro produces “the world’s first” 70 percent protein concentrate from chickpeas, which the company reports features high nutritional values as well.
InnovoPro has developed prototype products based on its chickpea protein in various applications such as dairy alternatives, meat analogues, snacks and mayonnaise. The first products based on the chickpea proteins are being developed and will be launched on the market in 2019.
InnovoPro’s innovative plant-based protein is “free from all”, has not been genetically modified (non-GMO), is free of phytoestrogens, has no aftertaste and is not listed as an allergen. These properties render it highly suitable for developing a broad range of food products that meet a range of demands from diverse target audiences across the globe.
The market for plant-based protein is estimated today at US$40 billion. However, InnovoPro is targeting the even-larger, US$900 billion market of meat, fish and poultry, which is searching for new opportunities for providing protein-rich products.
“The growing demand for plant-based protein is setting new records with every year that goes by,” says Taly Nechushtan, CEO of InnovoPro. “We believe that developing a tasty, gluten-free food ingredient could provide the answer to the rising demand for plant-based protein products.”
“While the chickpea protein competes against other plant proteins, it features a different behavior pattern. For starters, the production of chickpea protein is green, clean and eco-friendly. Our process comprises production of protein and starch,” Nechushtan explains. “Rather than targeting the vegetarian and vegan markets, we are responding to consumers who seek to reduce their meat and dairy consumption as well as consumers who look for soy-free, dairy-free or gluten-free products. At the same time, these consumers will not compromise on the product’s taste. This is a huge market which accounts to 69 percent of Germany’s population and to 30 percent of the US population.”
“In view of the global food scarcity issues, the world cannot continue consuming meat and dairy food as it does today,” comments JVP Founder and Chairman, Erel Margalit. “As the world’s population continues to grow, we need to find new, sustainable food solutions. InnovoPro’s development is a global breakthrough poised to revolutionize the way the world consumes protein. The food corporations have already internalized the new reality and are forming new collaborations to manufacture the next generation of food for the global population.”
Margalit’s investment in InnovoPro adds to several impact investments he has made over the past few years and is part of his initiative to make Israel, in particular the Galilee region, a global food-tech leaser.
Additional investors in this round include Bits x Bites, China’s first venture capital fund that invests in food technologies, and Ran Tuttnauer, former owner of the Tuttnauer Group, ID Capital from Singapore and Yara ventures from Spain.
“The investment in InnovoPro will provide M-Industry companies with access to a pioneering and high-quality source of protein that we can use in a large number of our vegetarian and vegan products. Furthermore, the technological expertise of InnovoPro opens up new product applications for us in the areas of dairy alternatives, meat alternatives, desserts and sauces,” says Eliana Zamprogna, Chief Technology Officer at M-Industry.
“In the coming years China is projected to have the fastest growing vegan market worldwide. It also has one of the world’s most dynamic consumer markets with an expanding middle class eager to dive into new food experiences. From plant-based beverages to snacks, InnovoPro’s chickpea solution is well positioned to ride this momentum,” says Matilda Ho, Founder and Managing Director, Bits x Bites.
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