Better Origin is a startup that converts food waste into essential nutrients using insects fed to chickens in a standard shipping container. He has now raised a $ 3 million Seed Series fundraising round, led by Fly Ventures and solar entrepreneur Nick Boyle, while former investor Metavallon VC is also participating. Its competitors include Protix, Agriprotein, InnovaFeed, Enterra, Entocycle.
Better Origin’s product is a “self-contained mini insect farm”. Its X1insect mini-farm is deposited on site. A farmer adds food waste – collected from nearby factories or from the farm – to a hopper to feed black soldier fly larvae.
Two weeks later, the insects are fed directly to the chickens instead of the soy feed they normally receive. To add to the ease of use, everything inside the container is automated and controlled remotely by engineers at Better Origin in Cambridge.
This process has a double effect. Not only does it take care of food waste as a byproduct of agricultural practices, it also reduces the use of soybeans, the growth of which contributes to deforestation and habitat loss in countries like Brazil.
Additionally, as the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the global food supply chain, the company says its solution is to decentralize the production of food and feed, thus preserving the food supply chain. and food security.
Better Origin says it’s tackling a real problem, and that’s a fair assessment. Western economies waste about a third of all food produced each year, but, on average, demand from a growing population means food production will need to increase by 70%. Food waste is also the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) after the United States and China.
Founder Fotis Fotiadis was working in the oil and gas industry when he decided he preferred to work in a sustainable and non-polluting environment. After studying sustainable engineering at the University of Cambridge and meeting co-founder Miha Pipan, the two decided to work on a sustainable startup.
The company was launched in May 2020, now has five commercial contracts and plans to expand across the UK.
Better Origin claims that its differentiation from its competitors is the nature of its “decentralized” approach to insect breeding, due to the way its units are, effectively, “drag and drop” on a farm. In a sense, this is no different from adding a server to a server farm.
The business model will be to rent or sell systems to farms, possibly with a subscription model.