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Spanish dairy group invests in $4M funding of Indian startup making animal-free ‘Smart Protein’ 

Zero Cow Factory
Picture credits: Zero Cow Factory

Zero Cow Factory, a biotechnology company based in Surat, India, has announced that it has raised $4 million (INR 32 crore) in a seed round. 

The round was co-led by Green Frontier Capital, GVFL, and pi Ventures, with participation from Pascual Innoventures, the investment arm of Spanish dairy group Calidad Pascual. 

With this funding, Zero Cow Factory will be able to accelerate its R&D efforts, scale up production capacity, and obtain regulatory approvals to hit the market.

Zero Cow Factory is also a part of global innovation accelerators such as Mylkcubator in Spain, MassChallenge in Switzerland and Plug and Play in the USA. 

Sustainable animal-free milk proteins 

The company was founded in 2021 by Sohil Kapadia and Parini Kapadia to revolutionise the dairy industry by producing sustainable animal-free milk proteins and dairy products. 

The Indian company’s product is a new alternative to cow’s milk protein replicating its taste, texture, nutrient profile, and appearance. 

The company has developed a patented technology to produce dairy proteins such as casein & whey without animal involvement.

Zero Cow Factory is highly focused on animal-free casein production, the most complex protein, and hasn’t been commercialised by any company globally. 

The company’s first product is A2 Beta-casein, which is also healthier as the A1 milk protein that causes indigestion is absent from their product. 

The aim is to be the first company to get global regulatory approval for this protein, which will be used to formulate various sustainable food and dairy products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, supplement powder, etc. used across various industries like food, dairy, CPG, nutraceutical, and dietary supplements.

Smart Protein

Zero Cow Factory’s animal-free ‘Smart Protein’ is a healthy alternative to cow’s milk protein as it is free of lactose, antibiotics, growth hormones, cholesterol, and saturated fat. 

Moreover, compared to conventional dairy farming, it is created through a more environmentally friendly process, with higher efficiency metrics. 

According to the company, its technology requires 99% less land, 98% less water, emits 84% less CO2e, and consumes 65% less energy. 

The company has already demonstrated proof of concept at the lab scale with a small bioreactor producing animal-free casein. 

With this funding round, they will accelerate work on building their pilot facility in Gujarat to be ready for commercial production.

Further, Zero Cow Factory is in discussions with multiple Fortune 500 companies across the CPG, dairy, and nutraceutical sectors who have shown a keen interest in partnering with the company to formulate various products using Zero Cow Factory’s milk proteins as ingredients while replacing milk in their supply chain.

“We are excited to partner with our investors’ outstanding setup and combine them with our talented team, which positions us uniquely to lead the way in building a global dairy 3.0 that is animal-free, sustainable, and scalable,” said Sohil Kapadia, Co-founder and CEO of Zero Cow Factory.

“We are developing a technology to reproduce milk proteins to craft real dairy products that are ethical, safe, delicious, and identical to cow milk but without any animal involved,” said Parini Kapadia, Co-founder and CSO of Zero Cow Factory.

Sandiip Bhammer, Co-Managing Partner and Founder at Green Frontier Capital said, 

“With cattle being the No.1 agricultural source of greenhouse gases, precision fermentation startups have the potential to disrupt the dairy industry globally. If the world (and India) has to achieve its net zero goals, there needs to be a pivot rather quickly to sustainable solutions like precision fermentation and, in that regards, Zero Cow Factory, is working assiduously on developing its own proprietary A2 casein-based solution, a weakness which plant-based ingredients have not yet been able to address successfully.”

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