Biotech company Mushlabs has raised $10 million in Series A funding for its mushroom-fermentation process that can provide alternatives to traditional meat. According to an exclusive report from AgFunder News, the round was co-led by Singapore’s VisVires New Protein and Switzerland’s Redalpine, and included participation from existing investors Happiness Capital and Joyance Partners. This brings Mushlabs’ total funding to date to $12.2 million.
The company uses a fermentation process to grow mycelia — also simply known as the root of a mushroom — that can act as a meat replacement. According to the company’s website, that process involves cultivating pieces of mycelia in a controlled environment and feeding them side streams, or waste byproduct from other industrial and agricultural processes that can include sugarcane, rice husk, and spent grain. In bioreactors, the mycelial cells ferment the side streams and multiply, growing a protein-rich biomass Mushlabs then harvests and uses as the main ingredient for its products.
As of now, the company has not disclosed exactly what materials it uses as its side stream. CEO Mazen Rizk did, however, tell AgFunder that “they could potentially include a wide range of leftovers from farming, foodservice, food processing, and other agrifood segments.” He also noted that the biomass “contains a variety of micronutrients and fibers, some of which have prebiotic properties,” which makes it potentially more attractive than other alt-protein products that contain less-than-healthy food additives to mimic the taste and texture of meat.
Mushlabs joins a growing number of companies using mushroom fermentation as a means of making alternative proteins that can be used in place of meat. In June, MycoTechnology raised $39 million for its mycelia-fermentation tech. Prime Roots uses a process akin to beer brewing to make meat replacement products, including bacon. Biotech company Ecovative is using mushroom roots to improve the texture of alternative meats. And as Spoon contributor Ashlen Weddington can attest, Emergy Foods promises its Meati brand of mycelium-based steak mimics the mouthfeel of whole cuts of meat.
Mushlabs plans to use its Series A round to increase production and will focus first on the B2B realm.