Israel’s biggest agricultural cooperative and feed producer, Granot, is investing $2 million into sustainable, circular waste processing through insects.
Entoprotech, a start-up that uses the black soldier fly (BSF) to process organic waste, announced the fundraise today, along with an agreement to co-finance the formation of a sizeable “waste2protein” facility processing up to 150 tons of waste every day. The two are also considering the construction of additional facilities in the Middle East and Africa.
“Partnering with Granot goes way beyond financial investment,” Sasha Babitsky, Entoprotech CEO, said. “As the biggest feed player in the country, Granot can and will contribute to the development of sophisticated value add feed products, based on BSF. We are also already benefitting from the variety of cooperation and joint venture opportunities that Granot brings to the table, as a significant player in agricultural production and processing. Lots of doors instantly opened the moment Entoprotech associated with Granot, based on its great reputation in fields related to our goals.”
Entoprotech, which runs a R&D center in Israel and a pilot production facility in Russia, is a circular economy company that pulls organic waste streams away from landfills and feeds them to BSF, which drastically reduces GHG emissions. The company then converts the BSF into an array of useful and sustainable products, such as feed for the agriculture and aquaculture industries and fertilizer with their scientists exploring use in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
The company is the brainchild of turkey magnate Naum Babaev, an entrepreneur who kickstarted his career at Russia’s largest meat producer Cherkizovo, before founding Damate, a major agricultural holding company. Preempting the global shift in attitudes towards a more sustainable, climate conscious and eco-friendly society, Babaev is now expanding his business reach into the field of agri-tech. By founding Entoprotech, he aims to ‘domesticate the black soldier fly’ and use it to process waste in a way that is ‘circular, green and far, far better for the planet than the alternatives’.
“Since Entoprotech’s inception, we have been on a mission to not only build a valuable business, but one that provides tangible solutions to the problems facing our planet – climate change and a lack of sustainable waste management solutions”, said Babaev. “We know the importance of the work we do, but it is incredibly pleasing to have an investor like Granot buy into our long-term vision and see the potential in our cutting-edge solutions.”
The company will use the funds raised to pursue its R&D and business development plans, in preparation for a larger series A funding round planned for mid 2022.
Granot, itself, was founded over eighty years ago, and is now the largest agricultural cooperative in Israel, playing an important role in the region as a whole. Owned by 43 kibbutzim, the cooperative oversees 20 factories and businesses across a range of industries, recording an annual turnover of around 3 billion NIS.
Insects, while a bit gnarly in of themselves, represent a sustainable, urgently necessary new frontier in biotech and farming. Partnerships such as Granot’s investment in Entoprotech demonstrate that some of the largest and oldest agricultural players are willing to be quite serious about new and innovative circular economy businesses.