The ProVeg Incubator has unveiled the lineup for its 11th cohort, comprising eight startups set to revolutionize the alt protein industry with their products, including cultivated caviar, fermented ingredients, seasoning blends, and seaweed proteins.
The 11th cohort includes entrepreneurs from Argentina, Spain, Bulgaria, Singapore, and the USA, and for the first time in its five-year history, a Brazilian startup is joining the program. With four more participants, the incubator’s 10th cohort included 12 startups developing various products, from plant-based eggs and shrimp to chickpea milk. Still, Proveg is seeking entrepreneurs eager to launch a cultivated octopus company.
“These startups are tackling some of the biggest challenges in alternative protein”
The ProVeg Incubator has worked with 90+ startups since it started in 2018 to find alternatives to animal products. The incubator offers personalized mentoring, access to an extensive network of industry contacts, up to €300,000 in funding, and in-kind services to help startups quickly bring their alternative protein products to the market.
Meet the startups
This year’s participants aim to improve the functionality and quality of alternative protein products and help existing companies in this industry expand and grow faster, explains ProVeg.
- Allium Bio, Singapore: Founders Jonathan Ho and Albertus Sarwono have developed a novel technology for co-culturing microalgae and mycelium to create functional ingredients for plant-based foods.
- Poseidona, Spain: Turns seaweed by-products into proteins for alt seafood products such as tuna steak. Algal protein is “the new soy,” say founders Sónia Hurtado and María Cermeño.
- Cellva Ingredients, Brazil: Founded by Sergio Pinto and Bibiana Matte, it is said to be the first company in Brazil to develop and produce animal ingredients through cell cultures, starting with cultivated pork fat.
- Livestock Labs, United States: Uses genetic engineering to create reliable livestock cell lines that, according to Steen Ooi, its founder, provide genetically stable cells capable of cost-efficient growth to scalable the cultivated meat industry.
- Food 4 You, Argentina: Founded by Antonieta Rodriguez de Olmos and Francisco Gil Garbagnoli, it uses unique combinations of lactic acid bacteria to ferment plant-based food to develop new ingredients for high-quality and clean-label products.
- Guimarana, Spain: Its founders, Antonio García Arnau, Víctor García Montero, and Raúl Pageo Casanova, have developed seasoning blends, bouillons, and broth powders that taste like meat, fish, seafood, and cheese when added to plant-based dishes.
- Ex Seed, Bulgaria: Develops a novel technology for the optimal extraction of sunflower protein, which founder Boyan Kirilov Zahariev says is a more wholesome and nutritious alternative to soy and pea proteins with multiple applications.
- Marinas Bio, Singapore-United States: Allan Leung and Sally Davis leverage cell ag to produce seafood delicacies. By replicating sturgeon cells, they are creating sustainable caviar.
“For this cohort we were looking for high-impact startups who are innovating with truly unique value propositions, strong technology foundations, strong teams, and tech that is clearly differentiated,” said Antje Rauscher, co-head and partnerships lead at the ProVeg Incubator. “These startups are tackling some of the biggest challenges in alternative protein, from taste and nutrition, to pricing and scaling,” she added.
Focus on innovative tech
According to Divya Murthy, co-head and investment lead at the ProVeg Incubator, the alt protein space currently has a challenging funding climate. As a result, there is an increased focus on innovative technologies and solutions.
“Our 11th cohort is representative of this and we’re very happy to champion the innovative and seasoned founders of these eight startups. It is great to see our passionate founders take on this structural challenge and work towards solving high-impact issues in the sector.”
The selected startups will participate in the 12-week program remotely, culminating in a ‘Demo Day’ in December. Each startup will pitch its businesses to a panel of investors and a global audience.plant-based alternative protein cell ag alt protein meat fish eggs seafood pork cheese milk shrimp soy microalgae protein alternative fermented alt investors funding investment industry startup startups