FarmInsect closes seven-figure seed investment round to build regional insect breeding facilities
August 17, 2021
Munich, August 17, 2021 – FarmInsect has set itself the goal of making agriculture more sustainable with the help of insects. The startup enables farmers to produce protein-rich feed from regional residues using insect larvae. With the seven-figure financing round, led by High-Tech Gründerfonds and Bayern Kapital, FarmInsect aims to establish a production site for breeding larvae and larvae rearing facilities on-site to farmers. The round is also supported by 5x Ventures, Genea Invest, the Industrial Innovators Initiative, and notable business angels. The round was co-launched by BayStartUP.
FarmInsect harnesses regional residues from agriculture and the food industry to feed black soldier fly larvae. The insect larvae serve as animal feed, replacing soy and fish meal as a sustainable and regional alternative. For farmers, FarmInsect’s rearing systems offer additional value-added potential while promoting regional circular economy, higher resource efficiency and significant CO2 savings.
The startup was founded by Technical University of Munich (TUM) graduates Thomas Kuehn, Wolfgang Westermeier and Andre Kloeckner with the vision of making agriculture – one of the largest contributors of CO2 emissions – more sustainable. The team combines entrepreneurial experience with in-depth knowledge in the fields of biology, agricultural engineering, automation and mechatronics.
We see ourselves as a partner to farmers to be able to produce regional and very sustainable protein feed for pigs, chickens and fish. Our goal is to replace fishmeal and soy to 100% with insect larvae.
Thomas Kuehn, founder and managing director of FarmInsect
For this purpose, the protein rich larvae are raised directly on-site with the livestock where food residues are abundant, that would otherwise be considered as waste. The complex steps of laying eggs are managed through a regular supply of young larvae by FarmInsect, thus reducing the cost of heavy machinery and management of biological processes for farmers.
Financing round enables transition to growth phase
FarmInsect has been developing the process since 2019 at the TUM Venture Lab with their first pilot at a regional fish farmer. This year, the first insect rearing plants will be delivered to customers. To ensure the supply of young animals to the plants, part of the investment will be used to build a new, state-of-the-art egg-laying facility in the Munich area.
We see the use of local residues as feedstock for insects as a promising business model with enormous scaling potential. FarmInsect can thus already operate economically compared to the competition and make a noteworthy contribution to combating resource scarcity and climate change.
Dr. Maximilian Bock, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds
Insect feeds have the potential to become a crucial building block for sustainable, future-proof agriculture. FarmInsect has developed an important, innovative key technology for this, which is very attractive for farms throughout Germany and beyond. This makes FarmInsect an extremely exciting investment for us in the AgriTech sector.
Dr. Georg Ried, Managing Director of Bayern Kapital
Image material and background information
High-resolution images as well as detailed background information on, among other things, the technology, biology and the market, can be found in the press section of the FarmInsect website: https://farminsect.eu/news/
FarmInsect is an AgriTech startup from Munich. The three founders, Thomas Kuehn, Wolfgang Westermeier and Andre Kloeckner, have been working on a solution for farmers to produce insect larvae from regional residues (e.g. harvest residues) since 2018. Insects have been approved as feed for livestock in the EU since 2017. Due to their high protein content, insect larvae can replace the import of soy and fish meal with a regional and sustainable solution.
FarmInsect’s solution can save farmers up to 30 percent of their feed costs. At the same time, the farm benefits from a better nutrient balance and higher animal welfare. With the FarmInsect rearing system, the farmer can reduce protein feed costs by 30% and at the same time significantly improve his sustainability balance sheet.
FarmInsect has been operating a first pilot plant at the Venture Lab of TU München since 2019. As part of the pre-seed financing round, the company was founded as a GmbH (limited liability company) on May 29, 2020. The startup is supported by the EU and the Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture as part of the EIP Agri funding program.
About Bayern Kapital
Bayern Kapital GmbH, based in Landshut, was founded on the initiative of the Bavarian government in 1995. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bavarian LfA Förderbank. As the venture/growth capital organization of the State of Bavaria, Bayern Kapital provides equity capital financing for the founders and their innovative technology companies in Bavaria.
Presently Bayern Kapital manages thirteen investment funds with a total volume of around €700 m. So far, is has invested around €350 m in about 300 innovative companies in the field of technology in various sectors including life science, software & IT, medical technology, materials & new materials, nanotechnology and environmental technology.
In this way, more than 8000 long-term jobs in sustainable companies have been created in Bavaria.
About 5x Ventures
Shaping a sustainable future of positive entrepreneurship
Now more than ever, young companies are taking the lead in focusing on sustainable concepts, paving the way for innovations that will have significant social and technological impacts, and creating a new working landscape.
This is the exact approach that we at 5X want to promote. We establish companies, invest in them, and guide them by providing expertise, empathy, and an effective support network. And in doing so, we are really helping to develop a new corporate culture – one where economic, environmental, and humanitarian ways of thinking coexist in perfect harmony.
5X Ventures – because tomorrow’s economy is built today.
About Genea Invest
Genea Invest GmbH (Greek for generation) has the mission to invest in sustainable growth companies for the next generation in North America and Europe. The focus is on investments in the ecosystem of regenerative agriculture – organic farming, CO2 sequestration, topsoil building, recycling economy. The goal is to find young companies with an innovative business model and a top team that will achieve a leading competitive position and improve our environment.
About Industrial Innovators
The Initiative for Industrial Innovators is a cross-border financing initiative that funds disruptive, deep-tech teams and early-stage startups via fast funding instruments. It is backed by – amongst others – the European Investment Fund/ InnovFinEquity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to finance for startups and other SMEs.
TUM Venture Lab
The TUM Venture Lab Food/Agro/Biotech mission is to become Europe’s top breeding ground for agricultural, food technological and biotech business start-ups. This incubation hub fosters interdisciplinary innovations in the life sciences from genetic and biological research to production and processing technologies. We support ideas pertaining to agriculture, food, beverages, nutrition, forestry, biotechnology or applied life sciences. Hence, we operate in one of the hottest venture areas, considering for example the climate-driven challenges in agriculture and forestry, as well as the impact of nutritional habits on public health.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With around EUR 900 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 600 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected more than EUR 3 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,700 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 130 companies.
Investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and 32 companies. The Fund Investors
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Stefanie Grüter, Head of Marketing & Communications
T.: +49228 – 82300 – 188
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Maximilian Bock
T.: +49 228 – 82300 – 124