The revolutionary animal-free production system used by Austrian biotech company Fermify, which enables the removal of casein from cheese production, has received $5 million in a round of seed funding for vegan casein product.
Eva Sommer and Christoph Herwig founded Fermify in November 2021. The company has created a fully automated platform to produce precisely fermented vegan casein proteins at scale.
By enabling the production of real cheese without the cruelty and environmental damage caused by the dairy industry, Fermify hopes to facilitate the “full disruption of cows” by 2027.
The round was led by Dörte Hirschberg of Article 9 climate tech fund Climentum Capital. Bettine Schmitz from the Auxxo Female Catalyst Fund and Nina Wöss from Fund F are co-investors who are female.
Fermify received support from Clima Now, Satgana Ventures, Triple Impact Ventures, as well as previous backers Simon Capital, Übermorgen Ventures, Backbone Ventures, and Push Ventures.
“What excites us is that Fermify is not a cheese alternative, but a cheese equivalent, at groundbreaking cost,” commented Bettine Schmitz, partner of Auxxo Female Catalyst Fund.
The biotech will quicken the optimization of its bioprocesses and complete digitalization with the recently raised funds. In order to meet the demand for its “revolutionary” animal-free proteins around the world, it will also grow its staff.
The business, which was one of the first to produce vegan casein, claims that its continuous bioprocess, which is protected by intellectual property, has the potential to reduce costs by 50% and produce fewer greenhouse gases than traditional cheesemaking. Together with Bilfinger Life Science, Fermify has been working to make fermentation more affordable and profitable.
Christoph Herwig said: “With our unique technology, combining precision fermentation with digital twins, we satisfy multiple urgent needs, such as drastically reducing CO2 emissions and allowing vegans and flexitarians to enjoy cheese!”
VEGAN CASEINS ARE IN HIGH DEMAND
Due to their inferior quality, vegan cheese substitutes only have a 2% market share, according to Austrian biotech. However, its caseins free of animal products will enable CPG firms and dairy producers to create vegan cheese that melts well and has the right structure.
In a statement, Fermify announced that it has over 45 prospective customers across the globe, with the first round of implementations scheduled to begin in 2023.
“We have very strong demand from various customers and will have to select carefully the first 2 or 3 pilot customers that we start working with, allowing them to be first to the market with economically viable vegan cheese,” commented Eva Sommer.