Ÿnsect, the French insect farming startup, has raised $125 million in Series C funding in the largest early-stage agtech funding deal on record in Europe. This takes the company’s total fundraising to over $160 million since it was founded in 2011.
Ÿnsect farms mealworms to produce ingredients for fish feed, pet food, and crop fertilizers in an effort to capture some of the $500 billion animal feed market. The startup is one of 50 insect farming groups that have collectively raised $480 million to-date, according to the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), an EU-based association for the industry. In 2018, members of the association produced 6,000 tonnes of insects in 20 countries.
Insect farming, long an industry in developing nations for human consumption, has picked up pace in developed nations in recent years as a sustainable source of protein, particularly for the livestock industries.
Aquaculture, for example, still relies mostly on fishmeal, which is made up of wild-caught fish representing over 25% of global fishing and contributing to declining wild fish stock globally.
Ÿnsect is also offering a premium product to its customers, providing health benefits that translate into improved animal growth performance and boosted immune systems, according to Antoine Hubert, cofounder and CEO of Ÿnsect.