Berlin-based Formo announced today it had raised $50 million in Series A funding. The investment in the maker of animal-free cheese was led by EQT Ventures, with Elevat3 Capital and Lowercarbon Capital.
The company, which started out as Legendairy Foods but rebranded earlier this year, says it will use the new cash to build a pilot plant, fast-track commercial production, and expand its science team.
From the release:
“With the resulting increase in R&D capacity, Formo plans to expand its product portfolio to represent a wide variety of European dairy specialties such as mozzarella and ricotta, with techniques designed in collaboration with artisan cheesemakers.“
Formo uses a precision fermentation process to make animal-free dairy cheese with animal identical proteins. For cheese, this means first encoding DNA into microorganisms to produce casein and whey. From there, they feed the microbes until they produce enough protein, which is then harvested and combined with other ingredients to make cheese.
“Formo domesticates microorganisms instead of cows, using precision fermentation to create nature-identical dairy products. Formo’s cheeses have the same taste, texture, and functional properties as animal-derived cheeses, but come at a substantially lower cost for the environment, human health, and animal welfare. With microorganisms being up to 20 times more efficient than cows at converting feed into food, Formo can already undercut consumers’ willingness to pay at commercial production scale.“
The company says the $50 million is Europe’s largest series A food tech investment to date. This is true if we’re not counting restaurant tech (and Karma Kitchen’s $317 million series A), but no matter how you slice it, Formo’s latest is impressive and certainly the largest we’ve seen for a precision fermentation startup in Europe.