Geltor, the company which made a name for itself with its animal-free collagen, has raised $91.3 million in series B funding to fuel the expansion of its ingredients-as-a-service platform.
This latest round, which brings Geltor's total funding to $116.3 million, was led by future protein investor CPT Capital with a "significant commitment" from WTT Investment, a family office investor from Taiwan. Existing investors such as SOSV, Cultivian Sandbox, iSelect Fund and the corporate investment arms of ADM and collagen giant GELITA had follow-on investments. Other new investors included Blue Horizon Ventures, RIT Capital Partners, Humboldt Fund, and Pegasus Tech Ventures.
Geltor, which helps CPG brands in a variety of verticals such as cosmetics and food, is looking to scale up its biodesign capability to help these companies find more sustainable, animal-free alternatives for food and cosmetic items while also accelerating their time to market.
“We do two things,” CEO Alex Lorestani told the Spoon. “Building a portfolio of ingredients that can help brands right now, for products they’re building in the next six to 12 months. And then partner with folks that are thinking about solutions that they’d be bringing out in the next, you know, two, three years.”
Most biomanufactured products usually take a really long time to design and bring to market. Vaccines are a good example of this, where half a decade is considered fast to develop a highly scaled product with millions of units.
“Historically biotechnology has been really good at delivering on the timescale of pharmaceutical products, like many years, and that just doesn’t work for consumer product companies,” said Lorestani. “Their development cycles are fundamentally different.”
According to Lorestani, Geltor will invest the money largely in new people. “The number one thing that we invest in are the folks that develop technologies that can help us serve more and more customers with more sustainable ingredients,” he said. “We want to be able to do that faster and for more customers. That’s what we’re using the capital for.”
Geltor is part of a nascent group of companies such as Gingko Bioworks (and its spinout Motif Foodworks) that are raising significant amounts of funding to build the capability to rapidly develop engineered microbial ingredients and scale the biomanufacturing of products built around these ingredients. The transition from an industrial-centered food manufacturing to one which utilizes fermentation and other biomanufacturing processes will take time, but investors seem bullish as they start to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into these companies.
I asked Lorestani where he thought biomanufacturing was in its development and he pointed to the early days of another science discipline which is a foundation for much of today’s industrial-based food manufacturing.
“It’s like 1900 in chemistry,” he said. “I think that we’re at the very early stages. It’s going to be 100 year cycle for biology to really become and lead as the way that supply chains and lots of other things, get get built and delivered.”
Spoon Plus subscribers can see my full interview with Alex Lorestani in the video below.
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