🇫🇮 Enifer secures €36 million in funding to solve the world’s soaring protein need with its proprietary mycoprotein

May 24, 2024
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The Finnish biotech scaleup is gearing up the production of its PEKILO® mycoprotein with a new €33M factory located in Kirkkonummi, Finland. With already existing collaborations with the world’s leading food and feed companies, Enifer is prepared to annually upcycle food industry side streams into up to 3,000 tons of its sustainable fungi-based protein.

ESPOO, Finland (May 23rd, 2024) Finnish mycoprotein company Enifer has today announced the completion of a funding package that enables it to start constructing a unique food-grade mycoprotein factory in Kirkkonummi, Finland. The factory, which is set for completion by the end of 2025 and projected to cost €33M, will convert food industry side streams into Enifer’s sustainable PEKILO® fungi-based protein ingredients. The plant will be the world’s first commercial plant to produce such a mycoprotein ingredient from sidestream raw materials.

The factory will produce up to 3,000 tons of PEKILO® a year, which is enough to cover the annual protein needs of approximately 40,000 people. The production of PEKILO® mycoprotein has a low carbon footprint and requires minimal land and water, making it a very sustainable alternative to animal and plant proteins.

The new funding package comprises a new €15M Series B equity funding round led by the Finnish private equity fund Taaleri Bioindustry Fund I, with follow-on investments from existing shareholders Nordic Foodtech VC, Voima Ventures, and Valio. This funding is complemented by the Finnish Climate Fund, which has extended a €7M capital loan to support the project and a €2M Climate and Environmental Loan provided by Finnvera. This funding comes on top of the previously reported €12M recycling and reuse investment grant from Business Finland, making the factory fully funded.

We are very happy to start cooperation with Enifer. We believe that there is an increased need for alternative proteins as the global population grows. Demand is also supported globally by environmental and ethical considerations. Taaleri Bioindustry Fund I’s investment enables commercial scale production. We are confident in Enifer’s opportunities to expand,” comments Tero Saarno, Managing Director, Taaleri Bioindustry.

The world’s population and the need for protein are growing. Food production is – even at the level of technologies that can already be scaled – an unsolved key part of the climate challenge. In the future, sustainable food production will be based on several different solutions and the demand for new types of proteins is predicted to grow significantly over the next decade. Enifer’s already tested technology is interesting as the nutrients of various side streams can be upcycled and their processing value increased instead of energy use,” the Finnish Climate Fund’s acting CEO Toni Mikkonen describes the funding decision.

The factory will be built as a brownfield project within an existing industrial building in Kantvik, Kirkkonummi, Finland. The site bordering the Baltic Sea is only a 30-minute drive from Helsinki city center and Enifer’s existing R&D facilities. The site also offers the upcoming factory with all the required utilities, including steam, electricity, process and cooling water, and waste-water treatment. The factory will begin ramping up operations in 2026, and once it is at full capacity, it will produce 500 kilograms per hour of mycoprotein.

PEKILO® mycoprotein is produced by cultivating a specific species of fungus in a fermentation process that is not too distinct from brewing beer or making soy sauce. The produced PEKILO® mycoprotein powder contains a lot of high-quality protein and fiber. It is also neutral in color and taste, making it an excellent source of nutrition in the most diverse food applications. Enifer and its partners have already demonstrated its use across meat and dairy alternatives, baking, pastries and snacks.

At its core, the factory will harbor a full-sized industrial fermenter, standing more than 12 meters tall and measuring more than 4.5 meters in diameter, in which the PEKILO® mycoprotein is grown. The factory will directly employ some 15 people during regular operations and more than twice this number during construction and commissioning.

The PEKILO® fermentation process was originally developed in Finland in the 1970s and used to upcycle forest industry side streams into feed-grade mycoprotein. Enifer has breathed new life into this unique innovation, adapting it to new raw material streams from food and agricultural industries and developing a food-grade version of the mycoprotein ingredient.

The company will file for Novel Foods approval of the novel ingredient in 2024 and expects to receive approval during 2026.

At Enifer, we’re extremely excited to announce the kick-off of our first factory investment project. For over half a century, Kantvik has been at the heart of Finnish bioindustries, and I could not think of a better location to bring PEKILO® fermentation back to life. I would like to thank our new investors, in particular Taaleri Bioindustry and the Finnish Climate Fund, for joining us in our mission. Mycoprotein is the missing ingredient for a more sustainable food chain – the facility in Kantvik serves as a key steppingstone on our path to making mycoprotein a cornerstone of protein supply, with several future factories already being planned,” says Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of Enifer.

 

For additional information:

Media kit with pictures

Simo Ellilä, CEO, Co-founder
Enifer
+358 40 567 5786
[email protected]

Joosu Kuivanen, COO, co-founder
Enifer
+358 40 1632966
[email protected]

 

 

About Enifer

Enifer, a spin-off company from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, was founded by five scientists in 2020 to develop and commercialize the proprietary PEKILO® technology further. A process originally developed and used by the Finnish forest industry at a commercial scale, the PEKILO® technology enables the biotechnological conversion of dilute side streams into a high-protein ingredient, PEKILO® mycoprotein.

Enifer already has ongoing partnerships with big global companies in the feed and food industries, such as Skretting, the global aquafeed division of Nutreco, Purina for pet food, and Valio for consumer food products.

For more information, visit www.enifer.com.

About Taaleri

Taaleri is a Nordic investment and asset manager that focuses on businesses with industrial-scale opportunities within bioindustry and renewable energy. Taaleri creates value by combining extensive know-how, deep expertise, entrepreneurship and capital through both funds under management and direct investments. Taaleri has been a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) since 2010, and joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative in 2021. Taaleri’s vision is to become a leading investment manager operating internationally in bioindustry and renewable energy.

Taaleri has EUR 2.6 bn of assets under management in its private equity funds and co-investments. The company has approximately 120 employees. Taaleri Plc is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

www.taaleri.com


Originally published on 24 May by Enifer.

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