California-based foodtech start-up Equii has attracted $6M in seed funding to support roll-out of its fermented flour.
Founded in 2021 as Cella Farms, Equii uses a proprietary method of fermenting grains to produce high-protein flour. The product contains all nine essential amino acids, but half as many carbohydrates as standard flour.
Equii is the brainchild of Dr Monica Bhatia and Dr Baljit Ghotra, two food manufacturing industry veterans who now occupy the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer respectively.
Dr Bhatia has previous experience working with alternative protein biodesign company Geltor, while Dr Ghotra held R&D positions at Ingredion, Mondelez and Cargill, among others.
The first product which Equii will bring to market is a sliced bread loaf which contains 10 grams of protein per slice – for reference, a typical slice of white bread contains around 1 gram of protein.
Equii’s product will first launch in selected restaurants and cafés and will be available to purchase online from 2023.
Moving forward, the start-up says it may expand further into the bread space, with products like bagels, buns and rolls.
However, another aim for the company is to supply other businesses with its high-protein grain flour. In the future, this may include high-protein pasta, nutrition bars and snack foods. Dr Ghotra has confirmed the start-up is on the lookout for partners to push forward with these ideas.
Khosla Ventures led the funding round, which now brings Equii’s total raised funds to $8M. The venture capital firm was also an early investor in Impossible Foods, and has several other foodtech companies in its portfolio.
Flour is an area which is increasingly drawing the focus of foodtech companies – not least because of its ubiquity in our diets.
Earlier this year, fellow US start-up Hyfé Foods raised $2M to accelerate the commercialisation of its low-carb flour made from upcycled wastewater.