Israeli start-up PoLoPo secures $1.75M to grow egg protein using potatoes
Israel-based start-up PoLoPo has raised $1.75 million (£1.42M) in a round of pre-seed funding for its proprietary molecular farming technology that can express egg protein in potatoes.
The start-up will use the investment to accelerate development of its technology which creates ovalbumin, the main protein found in egg white, inside potatoes.
The funding will also be used to build a new lab and build the R&D team, as well as make sure the PoLoPo egg protein complies with FDA and USDA regulations.
Founded in January 2022 by Dr Raya Liberman-Aloni and Dr Maya Sapir-Mir, PoLoPo hopes to develop an ovalbumin that is nutritionally identical to that found in chicken eggs, but is grown using plants instead of animals.
The platform is scaleable and economical, the start-up says, and can develop a protein with a much lower carbon footprint than traditional egg farming.
The start-up aims to have completed the first prototypes of functional ovalbumin samples and protein-dense potato tubers in the next 18 months, and hopes to enter the $26 billion egg protein market and meet the growing demand for egg white protein alternatives.
FoodLabs led the investment round, with Plug and Play Ventures, Milk & Honey Ventures, HackCapital, CPT Capital and Siddhi Capital also participating.
There is a growing number of start-ups working to develop alternatives to eggs and egg-based ingredients. Last year the German company Perfeggt raised €3.6 million in pre-seed funding for its plant-based egg which it developed in collaboration with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Founded last year, Finnish start-up Onego Bio, has also developed an egg white using fermentation, but no actual chickens.