Swedish foodtech start-up Mycorena says it has smashed previous Nordic records by raising €24 million (around £20 million) in Series A funding.
According to the company, the money will go towards the advancement and commercialisation of its proprietary fungi-based alternative Promyc.
Using upcycled raw material from tuber crops, Promyc is produced using fermentation. For custom solutions, the company can also use waste streams from other parts of the food industry.
From this process, many different types of food product can be made, Mycorena says. These include traditional meat alternatives, tuna fish alternatives, beverage additives and dessert ingredients.
Alongside this flagship product, the start-up has also developed a fungi that can be used as a fat in some meat replacements. This fat behaves like animal fat and thereby enhances the flavour of meat alternatives, Mycorena says.
The alternative protein market has been on the rise for some time, with a record-breaking year in 2021 for investments. In Europe, alternative protein companies raised £1.84 billion respectively. In particular, Sweden has emerged as a hub for foodtech solutions ranging from plant-based milks to fermented proteins.
Fungi-based foodtech innovations are growing in popularity too. Chicago-based start-up Aqua Culture Foods, for example, is using a single-cell protein grown from fungi to develop seafood-free calamari fries and whole-muscle cut fish fillets.
And beyond using upcycled fungi to produce food, companies like MycoWorks are utilising the waste streams to turn fungi into leather-like materials.
Mycorena says the success is owed largely to “societal awareness of the negative impacts of industrial animal protein manufacturing.” With this in mind, Promyc comes with a range of sustainable benefits, the start-up claims.
The innovation uses significantly less land and water than traditional animal protein farming, and by upcycling crops into fermentation substrate that company is tackling different waste streams within the food sector.
As well as a landmark funding round, Mycorena is also in the process of developing what will be the Nordics’ first-ever mycoprotein manufacturing facility. The Promyc Production Plant is set to be operational by early 2023.
The facility follows its current demonstration plant, the Mycorena Innovation and Development Center (MIND), which the start-up says is the “largest of its kind” in all of Europe.
Mycorena Founder and CEO, Ramkumar Nair, said: “Thanks to our recent rapid growth and the expansion of the Mycorena Innovation and Development Center, we have been able to scale at a pace that we never thought possible.
“Funds raised from the current Series A round will be instrumental in elevating our trajectory even further. It allows us to invest heavily in both innovation and growth and, most importantly, bring us one step closer to commissioning the first-of-its-kind and globally unique Promyc Production Plant.”