- Israeli food tech startup InnovoPro raised $15 million in a Series B funding round to increase production of its 70% protein chickpea concentrate as well as form business development and marketing joint ventures, according to Reuters.
- The round was led by Jerusalem Venture Partners with participation from CPT Capital, Custos Privatstiftung and Andritz CEO Wolfgang Leitner. This new capital infusion brings the startup’s total funding to $19.25 million, The Spoon reported.
- The company makes a protein powder called CP-Pro 70, which has 70% protein content, a substantial increase from the natural 20% protein content of chickpeas. The powder is sold to manufacturers for use in the making meat and dairy alternatives. Products using the ingredient have been launched in Israel, the United States and Europe.
Despite the economic upheaval created by the pandemic, there are some investors that are still willing to put down money. But with uncertainty surrounding the future of consumer behavior and the pace at which the world will reach a state of "new normal," investors are being judicious in their spending and are looking to channel their support toward companies that are creating goods for a future market.
Companies with products that have strong growth or focus on in-demand trends like plant-based or clean label are attractive targets for investors. InnovoPro hits both of those.
Chickpea flour is an appealing alternative in the plant-based protein market. It can be used to make allergen-free products, unlike other popular options like wheat, soy and nuts. It is also a high-protein option in a market where protein is a coveted addition that has a neutral taste, according to AgFunder News.
In addition, the brand caters to consumers who are increasingly concerned about the sustainable production of food, a consideration that has proved to retain its appeal even amid the spread of coronavirus. In fact, a new survey from global management and consulting firm Kearney showed nearly half of consumers say the pandemic has made them more concerned about sustainabilty. While there are many components under the umbrella of sustainability, one of the big environmental concerns in the food and beverage sector is production of animal protein and dairy products, which are on a trajectory to represent 80% of the planet's permissible greenhouse gas emissions in 30 years.
Chickpea flour allows manufactures to pursue an alternative protein source. However, InnovoPro is not the only company producing a high-protein chickpea flour for commercial use. Another Israeli food tech startup, ChickP, introduced a line of chickpea isolates designed for plant-based dairy alternatives with 90% protein content. There is also U.S.-based Nutriati and Cambridge Commodities’ ProEarth with introduced similar products.
InnovoPro, however, has the advantage of a funding boost right as the world is starting to contemplate reopening in some places. The funding will allow the company to prepare and ramp up for the rebound of consumer demand by forging relationships with manufacturers and demonstrating how the chickpea protein can be a fit for items like pasta, ice cream and snacks.
By working now to establish a diversified network of products, customer and channels, InnovoPro seems to be giving itself a leg up on the competition and is poised to take advantage of supply chain channels and manufacturing capabilities as soon as complications clear up.