MCMINNVILLE, ORE. – Chapul LLC announced that it raised $2.5 million in investments on Jan. 27. The company also announced a partnership with Nexus PMG to launch Chapul Farms, an insect regenerative farming project.
The funding round was co-led by Nexus and Mark Cuban Companies, with participation from Daniel Lubetzky, representing Equilibria Ventures.
“Equilibra Ventures is motivated to support Chapul Farms in an important space that could have great benefits for our environment and our society,” said Lubetzky, founder of KIND Snacks and Equilibra Ventures.
Chapul was founded in 2012 from a Kickstarter campaign and made its way to Mark Cuban on Shark Tank with the first cricket protein bar in the United States. Since then, the company has continued to be a pioneer in the insect protein category and began to develop projects to accelerate the growth of insect breeding, the practice of breeding and rearing insects for to human, animal and animal nutrition.
The investments will contribute to the creation of Chapul Farms, with the aim of establishing a more circular and sustainable food system using black fly larvae.
“Adding insects to the larger landscape of agriculture is a deeply essential course of action to ensure long-term food security on planet Earth,” said Pat Crowley, Managing Director of Chapul Farms. “There is growing support from the scientific community for the long-term global agriculture that we need to increase: biodiversity, climate resilience, systems integration and tighter nutrient and carbon cycles. Insects, and the microbial ecosystems they bring with them, shine in every category. They also demonstrate a role in the bioremediation of some other massive challenges in humanity’s pipeline: water quality and availability, soil health, and carbon sequestration, to name a few. . Our team works with insects to meet these challenges head-on.
According to Chapul, the United States alone produces about 63 million tons of food waste annually, which creates carbon dioxide and methane emissions that contribute to climate change. Diverting food waste from landfills is the #1 concept to address to prevent climate change, according to Project Drawdown. For Chapul, that means using BSFL to manage and prevent food waste.
BSFL consumes food waste and can recycle food to keep it from ending up in landfills. The insects produce larvae, used in food and feed as protein, and insect manure (excrement), used as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers.
However, the insect farming industry is not without its problems, according to Chapul.
“We have seen an imbalance between vision and execution for the industry, often due to the complexity of insect colonies as living, dynamic systems,” said Michael Place, Chief Technology Officer, Chapul Farms. . “Our team is distinguished by its expertise in the integration of biological systems and a partnership with the best engineers in climate infrastructure, Nexus PMG. We are excited to expand Nexus’ already growing track record of successful climate-critical waste recovery projects. »
The $2.5 million investment will be used in partnership with Nexus to build the Chapul Farms team and build an insect farming facility. A portion of the funds will go toward building the Chapul Farms Insect Research and Innovation Center in McMinnville, Oregon. The center, located on 600 acres, will serve as the epicenter of the farm, conducting raw material trials and testing to accelerate insect farming. The center will also host R&D on excreta used in soil in partnership with the Sustainable Regenerative Agriculture Laboratory and Soil Food Web.
“What we’re doing is moving away from nature and biology – the Earth knows how to create sustainable systems,” said Aly Moore, business manager of Chapul Farms. “Chapul Farms has made the scaled container nature’s solution in our markets. Insect biology is the missing link in rapidly deploying and scaling up climate-critical solutions to close the loop of food production and ensure future food security for generations to come.
The partnership between Chapul and Nexus will also help fund and support other facilities in a range of industries that can use BSFL to transform waste.
“Being in the agriculture and infrastructure markets, we’ve seen the growth of the insect agriculture market,” said Ben Hubbard, CEO of Nexus. “Bug farming is going to bring a lot of traction to the sustainable finance movement. We thought there was no better partner than the team at Chapul Farms to get involved in this exciting and impactful industry.
Learn more about sustainability in the pet food and treats industry.