NEWS Equinom raises $35M for new non-GMO plant-based protein ingredient

Equinom raises $35M for new non-GMO plant-based protein ingredient

Diving Profile:

  • Equinom, a high-tech optimized crop breeding company, has raised $35 million in a funding round, nearly doubling the company’s lifetime funding to $71 million. The round was led by Synthesis Capital, with participation from Bunge Ventures, Praesidium, BayWa, CPT Capital, and returning investors Fortissimo and Phoenix.
  • The funds will be used to more quickly bring Equinom’s plant-based protein ingredients to the B2B market. It will also further develop ultra-high-protein soybeans and peas, increase headcount and increase research and development efforts on new crops such as high-protein chickpeas, broad beans, mung beans and cowpeas.
  • Israel-based Equinom is one of the few companies using technology to create better food crops. All of Equinom’s ingredients are non-GMO and traditionally grown.

Dive Insights:

Last year, Equinom boosted the protein content of yellow peas to 75%. In September, the company partnered with AGT Ingredients to create several minimally processed plant-based protein products to improve the taste, nutrition, accessibility and carbon footprint of a variety of foods and beverages.

This funding round gives Equinom the opportunity to improve about the final products that will be offered through AGT, and the opportunity to expand its product portfolio.

So far, Equinom has looked at yellow peas, soybeans and sesame. As the company’s custom-grown crops proliferate and its ingredients become available in a wider range, food makers will be looking for higher-protein versions of other common plant ingredients. It makes sense for Equinom to take steps to provide them.

“With this additional investment, we will be able to communicate our message, and our next generation of non-GMO products
Prepared by providing tastier, healthier,
There are sustainable and affordable food options on every plate in the world,” Jill Shalev Equinom’s co-founder and CEO said in a statement.

Equinom uses a technology platform called Manna, which uses advanced algorithms to calculate the biochemical and genomic characteristics of different crop varieties. Using this information, Equinom breeds crops optimized for different aspects of food and food ingredients, including nutritional content, taste, color and physical properties.

Breeding the best varieties takes several growing seasons because the company doesn’t use CRISPR or other systems to directly alter the plants’ genetics. Avichai Amrad, now Equinom’s beans program manager, said in a previous interview that his company’s technology cuts the time it takes to optimize pea breeding from about seven years to four or five years.

Several companies have entered into partnerships with Equinom.

Last year, it partnered with European milling operator GoodMills to develop the ingredient Equinom It is said to reduce off-flavors and have a better texture for meat and dairy substitutes, as well as pasta. Equinom also has an ingredient supply deal with plant-based meat maker Meatless Farm, which gives the company access to a pea protein that Equinom says provides 50 percent more protein and reduces Meatless Farm’s carbon footprint.

Hummus maker Sabra has also partnered with Equinom to create an upgraded version of sesame. Equinom-bred seeds are said to be optimized for tahini through their sugar, protein and moisture content. Additionally, Mexico-based seed producer and exporter Dipasa is partnering with Equinom to produce a high-protein sesame concentrate for the plant-based food market.

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