AI-powered startup to use funds to advance its protein platform as company moves towards commercializing its product portfolio
Mexico’s Bimbo Group and the ICL Group join financing round
SANTIAGO, Chile & PARIS, France --(BUSINESS WIRE) Protera, an AI-driven startup designing and developing new proteins to enable a wide range of natural and sustainable solutions, today announced the final close of its Series A financing, at $10 million. The round was led by Sofinnova Partners, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm specialized in healthcare and sustainability. Mexico’s Bimbo Group, the world's largest baked goods producer, joined the financing round along with ICL Group’s food and agtech startup accelerator, ICL Planet.
These key strategic partners will help Protera close the loop between highly effective protein design, production and commercialization of new protein-based ingredients.
“We are excited to continue our strong partnership with Sofinnova Partners, which is known for being a company builder in industrial biotechnology, with a strong focus on entrepreneurs and science,” said Leonardo Álvarez, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Protera. “We feel fortunate to add two industrial partners, Bimbo Group, the world’s largest baked goods producer, and ICL Group, experts in ingredient manufacturing and distribution, as we position ourselves to go fully down stream and deploy products on the market.”
Protera is currently scaling-up its manufacturing process and validating its protein-based ingredients with several multinational companies. Mr. Álvarez noted that in particular, the financing will fast-track the scale up of protera guard™, a protein that extends the shelf-life of foods and replaces widely used chemical ingredients, with an efficient natural alternative.
“Having led the financing a year ago we have been impressed by the team's ability to deliver food ingredients that are innovative, sustainable and highly sought by the markets,” said Joško Bobanović, Partner at Sofinnova Partners and a member of Protera’s Board of Directors.
Protera uses a proprietary deep learning algorithm, madi™, to screen billions of amino acid combinations and predict their properties. The platform can design proteins at a high speed and accuracy, that will serve as healthier and more sustainable ingredients.
Jose Manuel Ramirez is the Director of Bimbo Ventures. He noted, "Protera's technology aims to solve real challenges in the food sector, such as increasing the shelf life of bread, to diminish food waste and increase food security. We wish to support the company, by testing and validating its technology.”
The close comes on the heels of a number of corporate developments at Protera. Earlier this year, the company added former Novozymes’ Executive Vice PresidentThomas Videbaek as Chair of the Board of Directors and non-executive board member, and BASF veteran Dr. Oswaldo da Costa e Silva as Non-Executive Director.
“Protera’s unique platform – especially its focus on building a portfolio of clean-label food Ingredients has the potential to help ICL differentiate its future product offerings, as we focus on our long-term strategy dedicated to alternative proteins," said Hadar Sutovsky, Vice President of External Innovation at ICL & General Manager of ICLPlanet.
Mr. Álvarez and Francia Navarrete, Chief Operations Officer, founded Protera in 2015 in Chile. In the company joined IndieBio, a biology-focused accelerator in Silicon Valley. Since then, Protera has been developing its artificial intelligence technology, allowing it to craft functional protein ingredients that are clean-label and animal-free.
Protera is advancing the science of protein engineering to address some of the most critical problems and opportunities in food, agriculture, the environment and human health. We streamline protein design and development with madi™, our proprietary deep learning algorithm, to predict high value protein products and enzymes with unprecedented speed. www.proterabio.com
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm in life sciences, specializing in healthcare and sustainability. Based in Paris, London andMilan, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over the world with strong scientific, medical and business expertise. Sofinnova Partners is a hands-on company builder across the entire value chain of life sciences investments, from seed to later-stage. The firm actively partners with ambitious entrepreneurs as a lead or cornerstone investor to develop transformative innovations that have the potential to positively impact our collective future.
Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is a deeply-established venture capital firm in Europe, with 50 years of experience backing over 500 companies and creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2 billion under management. For more information, please visit: www.sofinnovapartners.com
About Groupo BIMBO
Grupo Bimbo is the largest and leading baking Company in the world and a relevant participant in snacks. Grupo Bimbo has 197 plants and more than 1,700 sales centers strategically located in 33 countries throughout the Americas, Europe,Asia and Africa. Its main product lines include fresh and frozen sliced bread, buns, cookies, snack cakes, English muffins, bagels, pre-packaged foods, tortillas, salted snacks and confectionery products, among others. Grupo Bimbo produces over 13,000 products and has one of the largest direct distribution networks in the world, with more than 2.9 million points of sale, around 57,000 routes and more than 134,000 associates. Its shares trade on the Mexican StockExchange (BMV) under the ticker symbol BIMBO, and in the over-the-counter market in the United States with a Level 1 ADR, under the ticker symbol BMBOY. www.grupobimbo.com
ICL Group Ltd. is a leading global specialty minerals and chemicals company that creates impactful solutions for humanity's sustainability challenges in global food, agriculture, and industrial markets. ICL leverages its unique bromine, potash and phosphate resources, its passionate team of talented employees, and its strong focus on R&D and technological innovation to drive growth across its end markets. ICL shares are dually listed on the NewYork Stock Exchange and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (NYSE and TASE: ICL). The company employs more than 11,000 people worldwide, and its 2020 revenues totaled approximately $5.0 billion. www.icl-group.com