SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — NovoNutrients, an alternative proteins company that uses industrial carbon dioxide emissions, cheap hydrogen and naturally occurring microbes to create high-grade proteins for human and animal consumption, today announced a $4.7 million raise led by Hong Kong-based global venture firm, Happiness Capital.
NovoNutrients previously raised $4.3 million in venture backing, as well as a multiple of that in non-dilutive, corporate project funding commitments. NovoNutrients will use the project funding to complete its industrial pilot program, which captures CO2 emissions, at an oil and gas and/or cement-related plant. Those projects position NovoNutrients to start raising a series A financing later this year.
"NovoNutrients has taken major steps towards becoming one of the world’s biggest suppliers of innovative protein ingredients by 2030," said Eric Ng, CEO of Happiness Capital. "The executive team has achieved tremendous support, not only from us, but also from prior visionary investors, as well as project funding from powerful corporate partners."
Happiness Capital also invested in Beyond Meat, Redefine Meat, and Ynsect.
"NovoNutrients’ uniqueness," continued Eric Ng, "is the combination of its current focus on alternative protein, its use of carbon capture and inexpensive hydrogen, and its creation of a robust platform for making both natural and synthetic biology products. Beyond nutrition, we expect its platform to make other biobased chemicals and materials. Its tech is exceedingly cost effective and promising for addressing increasing global demand and greenhouse gas emissions."
E2JDJ and Marinya Capital also joined the round, which included re-ups from SOSV’s IndieBio and the Grantham Environmental Trust. Other, earlier investors include Stanford Graduate School of Business Impact Fund, Purple Orange Ventures, and Joyance Partners.
NovoNutrients plans to co-locate its bioreactors and systems at industrial sites that produce high-levels of the greenhouse gas CO2. At global scale, NovoNutrients plants have the potential to reduce those industrial CO2 emissions by gigatons.
NovoNutrients’ technology is a kind of fermentation, akin to the process that turns grapes into wine or wheat into beer. Instead of wheat or grapes, NovoNutrients uses naturally occurring microbes that thrive on a diet that is mainly CO2 and hydrogen to produce a variety of highly nutritious protein flours, which can be used in foods like plant-based burgers or in otherwise expensive, protein-rich animal feeds. Whether for people, fish, or other carnivores and omnivores, the amino-acid profiles of NovoNutrients protein ingredients are superior to those from soy. In addition, NovoNutrients plans to make non-protein products needed for industries including cosmetics, chemicals, and materials.
NovoNutrients’ current aim is to demonstrate its proprietary fermentation producing high-value proteins as that production scales to industrial levels. Kumiko Yoshinari, NovoNutrients’ VP of Strategic Partnerships, noted "Non-dilutive project funding from corporate partners, including a Catalyst Grant from Chevron Technology Ventures, is a critical accelerator. By building NovoNutrients facilities at commercial scale on the industrial sites where CO2 and hydrogen are generated, we will be able to trial the technology with new partners. We could enter joint ventures or license the technology, which we’ve already done. That allows us to scale without making heavy capital investments." Yoshinari was previously an executive at the International Finance Corporation (IFC, member of the World Bank Group), managing more than $2 billion in project financing.
"The progress at NovoNutrients, "said NovoNutrients’ CEO, David Tze, "stands on the shoulders of three generations of fermentation pioneers that were mainly in biofuels. Now, we believe we have found the path to high-value products and affordable industrial scale, by using greenhouse gases instead of corn."
"In the three years since our November 2018 Indiebio demo day," Tze adds, "we’ve prototyped protein-based products that have a market value 10x our original one, which was targeted at replacing ingredients made from wild-caught fish. We have been able to do that without increasing our cost of fermentation. We are rapidly accelerating to industrial scale. Our current pilot project is centered on a 1,000-liter bioreactor. Shortly thereafter, we will stand-up a 20,000-liter industrial demo."
About NovoNutrients – https://www.novonutrients.com – NovoNutrients transforms carbon dioxide emissions into valuable goods. Also using other byproduct streams and hydrogen, this low-cost, highly-scalable technology addresses the growing demand of rising global standards of living. It makes protein and utilizes captured greenhouse gases. The precision fermentation platform converts carbon dioxide into alternative proteins, high-value additives, and non-nutritive, biobased chemicals and materials. NovoNutrients is a pre-sales company that is moving quickly to commercialization.
About Happiness Capital – https://www.happinesscapital.com – Happiness Capital, a global venture capital firm based in Hong Kong, empowers entrepreneurs to co-create a happier world. Currently, its investment portfolio covers seed to growth stage companies in the US, Europe, Israel, and China. It creates a global impact on trust, food, health, climate change, and reduced inequalities. Happiness Capital is a member of LKK Health Products Group, a Lee Kum Kee Group company.