Reportedly, the global insect protein market is projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2027. Insects are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, making them a potentially sustainable and nutritious alternative source of protein for human consumption. As there is a need for more efficient protein sources, the insect protein market has gained attention for its potential to address these challenges.
Using this potential, Bulgarian biotechnology scaleup Nasekomo focuses on advancing insect bioconversion for sustainable high-quality protein production. Now, the company has secured €8 million in a Series A funding round.
The round was led by Bulgaria-based Invenio Partners, a private equity fund focusing on the SEE region, alongside several high-net-worth individuals. It comes a month after Nasekomo entered into a strategic partnership with Siemens.
Insect bioconversion factories
The funds will be used to construct a network of insect bioconversion factories through a franchise model across Europe soon. The company also plans to expand its footprint to other continents soon.
Following the inauguration of its industrial demonstration centre near Sofia, Nasekomo plans to open in Bulgaria a second production base in 2025 in partnership with a local entrepreneur.
Sustainable protein alternative
Founded in 2017 by Marc Bolard, Olga Marcenac, and Xavier Marcenac in Bulgaria, Nasekomo focuses on technologies to enhance the insect protein production based on Black Soldier Flies (BSF). The company rears BSF to produce protein, oil, and fertiliser for the feed and agriculture industries.
Nasekomo leverages AI technologies, robotics, and digitalised solutions to advance insect bioconversion. With AI, its business model optimises, grows, and processes larvae.
Alongside Fly Genetics, its joint venture with Groupe Grimaud, it has developed a sophisticated selection program, empowering its partners to produce enhanced premium insect protein on an industrial scale.
Being a sustainable protein alternative, the company plans a production model, promoting circular economy practices in farming and the food and beverage industry. It not only reduces food waste but also greenhouse gas emissions, the depletion of fragile resources such as pure water, arable lands, and marine life stocks, and Europe’s external dependency on proteins.
Xavier Marcenac, co-founder and co-CEO of Nasekomo, expressed his pride in the company’s accomplishments and its strategic partnership with Invenio, stating, “We firmly believe that our collaborative efforts will lead to the successful realisation of our ambitious vision – to accelerate the growth of the insect industry by providing the picks and shovels to newcomers which in our case means genetically selected seed larvae and our end-to-end bioconversion factory technology.”
Co-founder and co-CEO Marc Bolard added, “Our objective is to enable insects to positively impact our food chain in nutrient availability, quality, and sustainability. To do so, we need to attain the highest level of standardisation and process optimisation in our upcoming network of franchised factories through genetics, automation, digitalisation, AI-native solutions, and interconnected operations.”
Stanislav Nikolaev, Partner and COO at Invenio Partners, who will become Board Member of Nasekomo, added: “The biotechnology industry, with its inherent sustainability, is well-positioned for rapid and substantial expansion, presenting an exclusive opportunity for investors seeking returns in the realm of sustainable production. This investment in Nasekomo underscores our commitment at INVENIO Partners to support industry pioneers using the latest technologies to enhance their production processes.”