🇫🇮 Onego Bio raises $40m to scale up animal-free egg production

April 3, 2024

An industry disruptor, Onego Bio, has completed Series A funding round – one of the largest in the Nordics – for scaling its revolutionary animal-free egg protein, Bioalbumen®

HELSINKI, FI and PALO ALTO, CA, April 2, 2024Onego Bio has completed their $40 million Series A funding round to drive commercialization and manufacturing of egg protein via precision fermentation. The round was led by NordicNinja, a Japanese-Nordic VC investing in the most promising companies within sustainability and digital society, and included equity investments from Tesi and EIT Food, existing investors Agronomics, Maki.vc, Holdix and Turret, and certain strategic partners. The Series A round also includes a $10 million non-dilutive funding from Business Finland, a public organization under the Finnish Government that supports innovation to accelerate systemic change to help solve major global challenges. Onego’s Series A funding is one of the largest A-rounds in the Nordics, bringing the company’s total funding to $56M.

“Onego Bio is taking all the right steps to commercialize in record time. They are a next-generation precision fermentation company, with a clear path to industrialization, go-to-market, and profitability. With technology that is designed to scale and such a strong team, they really stand out,” said Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner, Nordic Ninja. “In less than two years, Onego is already working with major global food companies and is staged to disrupt the $330 billion egg market and create system level change, accelerating the green transition.”

NordicNinja’s Principal Claes Mikko Nilsen adds: Onego is well placed to scale successfully, due to its highly experienced team who have world-leading research expertise, and extensive experience in scaling companies from startups to large corporations. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this journey.”

“Eggs are an essential part of food businesses, but with the egg market constantly fluctuating due to avian flu and increased demand for cage-free, manufacturers are challenged to find a viable replacement with a consistent, reliable, and safe supply of high-quality protein at an accessible price. A long-term sustainable solution for chicken eggs is needed,” said Jim Mellon, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Agronomics. “We have been highly impressed with Onego’s capabilities and vision from the very beginning. By repurposing a well-established technology from the enzyme industry for food protein production, they are well-positioned to scale to the massive volumes needed to future-proof the supply of the world’s most versatile and popular food protein.”

“We’re incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a passionate team and like-minded investors who share our vision for systemic change in the food system. This powerful combination has fueled our rapid growth, allowing us to deliver a revolutionary ingredient that is unmatched in terms of functionality, taste and texture”, said Maija Itkonen, Co-founder and CEO of Onego Bio. “Egg protein remains one of nature’s most perfect foods; this single ingredient supplies more than 20 different functional benefits from aeration to emulsification and gelation. While it may sound scientific, the value is in our mouths every day with velvety cake structures, silky-smooth mayonnaises, crispy nugget batterings, or those chewy-fluffy nougat fillings, just to mention few.”

Catering to the needs of the food industry, Bioalbumen® is bioidentical to the major protein in chicken egg white, ovalbumin. Nutritionally complete, Bioalbumen® contains all essential amino acids, has the highest possible protein digestibility score PDCAAS of 1.0, and delivers a whopping >90 g protein per 100 g. With a clean neutral flavor and superior functional properties, it’s an ideal industrial ingredient for replacing eggs and enhancing the texture, taste, and performance of a wide range of applications across the food industry. Onego currently collaborates with over 25 well-known CPG companies, integrating Bioalbumen® into their innovation pipeline for a wide range of products, including baked goods, confectionery, snacks, sauces, pasta, meat alternatives, and more.

Onego Bio was founded in 2022 as a spinoff from VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland) by alternative protein pioneer Maija Itkonen (CEO) and precision fermentation trailblazer Christopher Landowski (CTO). The company uses a patented world class fungal fermentation technology which is superior in productivity and scalability with demonstrated industrial production potential of 120 g/L in 250 000 L fermentation vessels allowing to reach competitive price points with the conventional way of making egg protein.

The company leverages its recent funding to fuel its North American go-to-market strategy, including scaling up to industrial-level production and expanding its U.S. commercial team. To accelerate market entry, Onego is partnering with co-manufacturers while finalizing its in-house manufacturing plans. This comprehensive approach involves securing offtake agreements and obtaining non-dilutive funding for the construction of their first own manufacturing unit. A single Onego full-scale manufacturing unit boasts a two-million-liter fermentation capacity, effectively replacing an egg farm with six million laying hens. This translates to a dramatic 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 95% decrease in land use (Nature Food 2021). To further minimize environmental impact, the company has ongoing projects focused on using alternative feedstocks, ultimately eliminating their reliance on corn sugar and grasslands.

Onego is on-track to receive self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status for Bioalbumen® this year, with a no objections letter expected from the FDA in 2025.  As a US-Finnish company, Onego is first launching in North America, where the regulatory landscape allows a faster market entry, followed by expansion in Europe, South America and Asia.

For more information:

Media kit with images

Laura Eriksson
Head of Brand & Communications
Onego Bio Ltd
[email protected]

About Onego Bio

Onego Bio is a US-Finnish food-biotech company revolutionizing the food system by harnessing the power of precision fermentation to manufacture real egg protein entirely animal-free. Their ingredient, Bioalbumen®, sets a new standard for sustainable protein with identical taste and nutrition, superior functional properties and over 90% smaller environmental footprint compared to eggs from chickens. Onego’s highly productive and scalable technology caters to the needs of the food industry searching for stable, sustainable functional ingredients. As a game-changer in the field, the company was selected the Winner of Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas awards and is a co-founder of two industry associations: Precision Fermentation Alliance and Food Fermentation Europe.  Learn more at www.onego.bio.

About NordicNinja

NordicNinja is a founder-led VC firm with deep engineering expertise. Launched in 2019, NordicNinja is the largest Japan-backed VC fund in Europe and has a focus on investing in scaling companies with the world’s #1 teams that contribute to a more sustainable and digital society. We provide support to founders from an experienced Japanese-European team of founders, engineers, and operators turned investors, and access to a global network of 120+ blue chip Japanese corporations. Learn more at www.nordicninja.com

Originally published on 2 April by Onego.

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