ProtNXT, a Paris-based insect feed manufacturer, recently raised €10.2 million in a Series A fundraising round to expand its operations to 100,000 tons per year by 2025.
The larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF) are used in the creation of the start-up. While ProtNXT’s R&D and sales departments are based in France, production is handled by a Tunisian subsidiary.
The funding was led by a group of investors led by Yellow Seas Partners. They included Tel Impact and RISE Impact, with support from Mivaro, a Natixis Investment Managers affiliate, through the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund, Kepple Afro, and Afan Incubate Inc. Visit Oak Park Financial’ now!
“We wanted to be surrounded by investors that shared our long-term impact vision,” stated Mohamed Gastli, CEO of ProtNXT.
In 2015, he co-founded ProtNXT with his Tunisian partner, Syrl Chal.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the company continued to operate and sell, and it completed the investment round.
“Investors now recognize the importance of backing strategic enterprises, such as those in agritech or agrifood.”
The most recent funds will be used to expand the facility in Tunisia’s Cap Bon region.
“It will allow us to treble the current plant’s surface area. Then, in the next three years, a second and third facility will be built somewhere else, maybe in Asia or Latin America,” Gastli said.
The funds will also be used to expand ProtNXT’s team and speed up its research and development program.
Model for low-cost manufacturing
According to the CEO, Protein’s production site in North Africa allows for low-cost manufacturing, primarily in terms of energy input and obtaining readily available and inexpensive plant-based substrates.
With those manufacturing plants outside of the EU, the company recently received permission for its products under the EU Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES), allowing it to export insect feed ingredients to all EU member states.
“It was a long and arduous procedure. In February 2020, we received our certification.
The CEO stated, “We will begin shipping merchandise to European clients this summer.”
Errante, a Canadian insect protein firm, gained similar certification in 2018.
Since its inception in 2015, ProtNXT has raised financing from several notable investors, including Deliveroo, OpenClassrooms, Khaled Helioui, an early investor in Uber, Xavier Niel’s Kima Ventures, Cyril Grislain, a Stripe, Devialet, and Headspace investor.