Don't diss the idea of eating seaweed. A new cash infusion of $4.6 million into Plantible Foods is allowing the company to make the “World’s Most Sustainable Protein” derived from aquatic duckweed.

It is the latest bet placed on a company, Plantible, that is innovating a global solution to the question: "Where does our protein come from?" The Plantible founder have figured out how to grow the aquatic plant, technically known as lemna, in a safe, sustainable way. The best part? It doubles its biomass every 36 hours, and can be harvested year-round, the founders say.

According to the company's press release: The $4.6 million in investment into Plantible Foods is to help develop and bring to market the proprietary plant protein created from duckweed, which is considered to be one of the most sustainable and nutrient-dense plants in the world. Lemna contains 100 times more protein factor than soy and 40 times more than peas.

The round was co-led by Hong Kong’s early-stage investors Vectr Ventures and Lerer Hippeau in New York, with participation from eighteen94 Capital, Kellogg Company’s venture capital fund, and FTW Ventures.

“At Plantible, we are accelerating the food revolution by creating the next generation of plant-based food ingredients that don’t force consumers to make compromises on taste, nutrition, or price when shifting to a plant-based diet.” says Tony Martens, co-founder of Plantible Foods. “We are extremely excited to welcome this stellar group of investors aboard our journey.”

 Meat, Eggs, and Dairy from Seaweed

The company creates a neutral-tasting protein powder that contains all nine essential amino acids. Plantible’s Rubi Protein has been found to mimic the functionality of egg white, dairy proteins, and even myosin, the meat protein, which means this one powder can be used across a wide range of plant-based food products including meats, dairy alternatives, baked goods, and beverages.

“As momentum in the plant-based protein space continues to grow, there is a massive opportunity to produce a truly distinct and high performing ingredient that addresses the evolving consumer needs, said Alan Chan, Managing Partner at Vectr Ventures." "We are very excited to work alongside the Plantible team and a group of likeminded investors to create a new market standard in the plant-based ingredient space.”

Plantible Foods' founders intend to use the funds to accelerate  "commercialization activities," and that it expects to see Rubi Protein™ available to customers by the end of 2020.

In a previous update from Plantible, Martens explained that he and his team are growing Lemna in a way that allows them to produce it in a safe environment that will yield "a stable supply of this great crop that van go directly into our processing facility where we can extract the protein."

According to Martens, Lemna doubles in biomass every 48 hours, making it one of the most sustainable crops to grow for protein since it can be harvested on a daily basis.

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