Turtle Tree Labs, a Singapore-based startup that creates milk from mammalian cells, announced yesterday that it has raised a $3.2 million seed round of funding. Green Monday Ventures, KBW Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures all participated in the round.
As we’ve covered previously, TurtleTree Labs uses cellular agriculture to grow mammary gland cells in a nutrient rich bath that actually lactate milk. This company is initially focusing on re-creating human breast milk, and will follow that up with cow milk. Because they are creating milk in the lab, scientists can alter the milk to give it different attributes like higher or lower fat or cholesterol.
When we spoke to TurtleTree at the end of 2019, the company had plans to debut its first glass of human breast milk in Q1 of 2021 and enter the market at the end of 2021. We don’t know if the COVID-19 pandemic has altered any of those plans, but in its funding announcement, TurtleTree said that the Singapore government has been supportive, allowing the company to continue its work apace.
Cultured breast milk seems to be a pretty hot space right now. TurtleTree’s funding comes just a week after BIOMILQ raised $3.5 million for its cultured breast milk solution.
It’s not hard to understand why cultured human breast milk is attracting funding. It has the potential to provide a healthier and more environmentally friendly option for women who are unable to produce enough breast milk on their own because of biological or environmental reasons.
That is still years away, however, as companies like TurtleTree need to continue development of its product and scale up to make its milk more affordable. This new round of funding will definitely help that.