Dutch startup Protix raises €15.5M to breed insects for aquaculture; here’s how

Many projections have suggested that the world population will reach over 9 billion by 2050. This means that the current food production will also have to be doubled. In light of worsening resource shortage, several foods have been proposed as alternatives, with insects receiving the most attention. This is because insects have the amazing ability to turn low-grade food waste into valuable high-end proteins and fats.

In this regard, a Netherlands-based insect farming startup Protix is working towards bringing the food system back in balance with nature.

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The funding

In a recent development, the Dutch startup has announced that it has raised €15.5M in a fresh round of funding led by existing aquaculture-focused investor Aqua-Spark

In addition, Rabo Corporate Investments, Brabant Development Company, and Dutch investment agency Invest-NL also participated in the round. 

This is Invest-NL’s first investment of € 7.5M with a direct contribution to the protein transition in the AgriFood sector and also falls in line with the National Protein Strategy.

What does Protix do?

Founded in 2009 by Kees Aarts, Protix believes in harnessing the technology to produce the ingredient of the future – insects. The company farms Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) mainly for use in animal and aquaculture feed, with sidelines including frass-based fertiliser.

The company claims that this particular fly’s larvae provide a unique source of protein for food and feed. Organic waste from the food industry serves as feed for the insects. And in turn, the insects are processed into sustainable ingredients like proteins and lipids.

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These nutrients are used by Protix’s customers as nutritious ingredients in various animal feed applications. Insect ingredients are more sustainable ingredients than soy or fishmeal and help prevent overfishing and deforestation for soy cultivation.

With high-tech solutions, artificial intelligence (AI), genetic improvement programs, and robotics, Protix brings the food system back in balance with nature. Its products are available in 13 countries, and range from pig and poultry feed to specialty pet foods.

Back in 2019, King Willem-Alexander officially opened the world’s largest insect farm at Protix in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands.

Use of the funds

The raised capital will enable the company to further optimise its production capacity and accelerate international expansion.

Kees Aarts, founder, and CEO of Protix says “Protix was born from innovation with a focus on positive environmental impact. We are the founder of a whole new category of proteins and other nutrients and the brilliant colleagues at Protix work on this day and night. This is another great step in the expansion of our leadership and many more will follow in the coming period.”

Supported by the EU

Protix has mentioned on its website that it is supported by the European program Plattelandsontwikkelingsprogramma POP3 in developing smart insect farming technologies. 

The project is focused on software and hardware that can improve the efficiency and reliability of insect production. The specific focus is on the development of an integrated software approach to feed and resource use to increase the sustainability of insect products.

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