Press release Protealis raises EUR 22 million in competitive B-round funding to boost sustainable plant proteins

23/01/2024 Source:

ILVO, as co-founder and shareholder of its spinoff PROTEALIS, is delighted with the successful January 2024 funding round. For the further development of varieties of SOY and other legumes adapted for Northwest Europe, this is good news!

Protealis, a leading company for innovative protein legume crop breeding based in Ghent, Belgium, is proud to announce the successful completion of its B-round financing. They raised a substantial 22 million euros. Existing investors massively confirmed their support for the company's mission in a highly competitive funding round, despite the challenging investment climate. Proceeds from the B-round financing will play an important role in both Protealis' continued commercial development and expansion in key European markets, as well as the growth of its legume crop seed offerings and supporting technology platforms. These include high-technology innovations, such as predicting crop yield and quality by linking genetic diagnostics and artificial intelligence, which further accelerate the introduction of new and improved varieties of protein leguminous crops to the market. This capital round marks an important milestone for the company to continue its mission in sustainable transformation of agriculture.

Protealis focuses on pioneering sustainable solutions for European farmers and responds to the growing demand for plant-based protein sources. The company's seeds and seed breeding technology platforms not only improve crop yields and protein levels, but also reduce the ecological impact of agriculture. By focusing on locally adapted leguminous crops that do not require additional mineral nitrogen fertilizers, Protealis aims to strengthen regional food systems and provide new opportunities for farmers, while also contributing to global sustainability goals.

David Buckeridge, Chairman of the Board of Protealis, responded: "The successful conclusion of a EUR 22 million financing round in today's challenging investment market shows that support for Protealis and its mission to develop sustainable and high-quality leguminous crops as an essential part of our future agriculture is even greater today than at our inception. Looking at the rapid evolution of trends such as regenerative agriculture, there is no doubt that these systems will require significantly larger areas of leguminous crops in Europe. This will require us to start breeding much higher performing varieties in the field than what is available to farmers today. Protealis has taken a leading role in this."

Over the past year, Protealis achieved significant milestones, including the successful launch of two unique soy varieties that are adapted to colder European climates. The company also set up a new "speed breeding" facility. This has now been in operation for just over a year and is being used to shorten the traditional seed breeding cycle by several years. In addition, they also implemented a 'genomic mating platform' to predict plant traits and improve disease resistance when introducing new varieties. Furthermore, the positive yield results of the pilot program for yellow pea, Protealis' new legume and already a popular plant protein source for many food processors, demonstrating the company's commitment to continue innovating for more sustainable agriculture.

Benjamin Laga, CEO of Protealis, further explained: "These positive results have resonated with investors inside and outside Protealis. They position our company as a leader in the rapidly evolving landscape of plant protein solutions. With this funding, we are well positioned to accelerate our commercial efforts and increase our clout in the European market, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and resilient future of agriculture."

The series B financing was fully supported by the existing investors composed of V-Bio Ventures (BE), PMV (BE), VIB (BE), ILVO (BE), Agri lnvestment Fund (BE), lnnovation Industries (NL), Korus lnvestments (BE), HFT Holding (NL), Thia Ventures (SG/BE), Gemma Frisius Fund (BE), Globachem Group /BE) en Estari Group (LU}, which demonstrates strong confidence in Protealis' mission.

Protealis was founded in April 2021 as a spin-off of VIB and ILVO with EUR 6.0 million venture capital (VC) start-up capital, and raised an additional EUR 5.7 million in an expanded Series A financing announced on 2 September 2022.

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