India’s Phyx44 can already proceed with its plan to develop animal-free milk proteins and fats for use in dairy products after it raised seed fund amounting to $1.2 million.
The money came from its recent funding round led Better Bite Ventures and participated by Ahimsa VC, PeerCapital, Spectrum Impact, Rohit Gulati (Managing Director and Partner at Boston Consulting Group), Sandhya Sriram (Chief Executive Officer, Shiok Meats), among others.
In a statement, Phyx44, the first full stack precision fermentation startup in India, said on Thursday that they also received backing from Big Idea Ventures and Humane Society International.
The biotech-enabled food science company will now accelerate research and development (R&D), expand the team and work on co-development of product formulation with key partners as they target to do their first product launch in 2024 in Singapore and India.
“Dairy has a huge environmental cost. Plus, animal welfare is an area of concern. That is why I was excited when I learnt what we could do with precision fermentation,” said Phyx44 Founder Bharath Bakaraju.
Founded in Bangalore in the early part of 2021, Phyx44 uses precision fermentation of microbes to create the full stack — whey and casein proteins and fatty acids — to recreate dairy.
The firm said that betting on microbial fermentation is the best way to replicate dairy. This technology “teaches” microbes to do what a cow or buffalo would do inside its cells. Fermentation is a key pillar of smart protein, globally known as alternative protein.
The team at Phyx44 has already made whey and casein proteins at lab scale and are in the process of scaling these up.
Nicole Rocque, Senior Innovation Specialist at the Good Food Institute India, said this sunrise sector plays a key role in meeting the government’s ambitious target of growing its bioeconomy to $300 billion by 2030.
India is quickly becoming the preferred destination for both innovation and manufacturing of smart protein, and is expected to play a key role in the development of bio-enabled solutions globally.
Ahima VC Chief Investment Officer Jinesh Shah said that with India being an agrarian economy, the largest producer and consumer of dairy, and a huge pharma producer provides a massive opportunity for Phyx44 to serve global demand for dairy ingredients and products sustainably.
Phyx44 aspires of becoming a global player soon.
Michal Klar, Founding Partner at Better Bite Ventures, said that with its biotech infrastructure and talent pool, India could eventually become the smart protein factory of the world.