Milltrust Ventures and Earth First Food Ventures launch Smart Protein Fund to focus on alternative protein sector
Venture investment company Milltrust Ventures, part of Milltrust International, has partnered with Earth First Food Ventures, a venture capital platform focussed on ESG/impact investing in innovative food technologies, to launch the Smart Protein Fund.
The $300 million (£243M) Smart Protein Fund will invest in companies with a lower carbon footprint and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, working in the plant-based, precision fermentation and cultured meat sectors. The fund will also invest in infrastructures to scale alt-protein technologies and production.
Milltrust International Group CEO Simon Hopkins commented on the partnership: “Few sectors offer the growth opportunity of a total disruption of the human food chain, as we seek to address the rapidly growing demand for a protein based diet across the globe, coupled with the need to scale in a way that doesn’t deplete the Earth’s finite resources.
“We are delighted to build on our successful investment in Roslin Technologies, which will set the course for the types of investments we have identified for our new Smart Protein Fund in partnership with Earth Food First Ventures. Timing is everything and investments in this growing industry are being repriced as commercial viability becomes a reality. Its continued acceleration, moving from R&D to growth at scale, will allow us to produce healthier, lower impact proteins in line with accelerating demand”.
Brian Ruszczyk, CEO of Earth First Food Ventures added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Milltrust International for the launch of the Smart Protein Fund, following the firm’s decade of investing in sustainability across their portfolios. The benefits of alternative proteins are clear—healthier diets, lower carbon emissions, and fewer concerns about the ethics of intensive animal farming.
“By 2035, alternative proteins will very likely capture 11% of the global protein market through organic growth, as consumers, companies, and investors push the values of ESG and parity. And we predict the market for alternatives to meat, especially chicken and seafood, could increase significantly higher still, rising from 2% of total protein consumption in 2020 to more than 20% by 2035, with government support which we are beginning to see today.”
Investing in cultured meat is not new to Milltrust International. In 2016 they invested £10 million in Edinburgh-based Roslin Technologies, a biotech company that grows cells for cultivated meat products. The start-up recently received further investment, closing at £11M in a Series A funding round.