KBW Ventures - founded by Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud - has invested in a major cell-based milk biotech company for the second time.
TurtleTree Labs is working on creating real milk from mammalian cells, without the need for animals. Its focus is on high-value human breast milk followed by cow milk. It says its team of 'world-class talent' includes more than 20 full-time scientists and engineers.
The company has just announced the completion of a fresh round of funding from global investors, raising $3.2 million from investors including Green Monday Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures as well as KBW Ventures.
'Hungry and passionate'
In a statement sent to Plant Based News, TurtleTree Labs co-founder and CEO Fengru Lin said: "Our team is hungry, passionate and knows what it takes to accelerate to market. I’m so inspired when even the most junior scientists are sharing ideas of cutting costs or identifying better suppliers."
The company has been able to continue working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to support from the Singaporean government which made it privy to an array of resources.
Discussing this, co-founder Max Rye said: "Our teams are firing on all cylinders thanks to Enterprise Singapore and the support from our investors. We remain as focused as ever, and we aim to continue hitting milestones."
He revealed that this fresh round of funding will 'enhance our scale-up development, bringing us one step closer to commercialization'.
'A vibrant agri-food tech ecosystem'
Bernice Tay, director, Food Manufacturing Division, Enterprise Singapore, added: "TurtleTree Labs’ goal of creating milk from animal cells provides a novel solution towards sustainable dairy production globally, and would also help to strengthen Singapore's long-term food diversification efforts.
"We are encouraged that Singapore’s foodtech infrastructure has enabled homegrown startups like TurtleTree Labs to push technological boundaries and obtain quick access to capital. We will continue our efforts to develop a vibrant agri-food tech ecosystem in Singapore to encourage the creation of more innovative solutions."
'The benefits of food technology'
Prince Khaled, founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, said: "KBW Ventures has invested in the seed round building on our initial commitment during TurtleTree’s pre-seed raise.
"We see the founding team commitment and the potential of this company and its technology as a winning combination. Now more than ever, people are waking up to the benefits of food technology and the massive positive implications of innovations in cellular agriculture."
David Yeung, founder, Green Monday Group said that food tech innovation in Asia is way overdue, adding that if the 'rapidly deteriorating climate change situation isn’t enough to convince the world, the pandemic surely hammers home the urgency that we need to overhaul the food system for the sake of public health, food safety, and food security'.
He said: "That explains why Green Monday Ventures is so excited to invest in and collaborate with TurtleTree Labs. We see immense possibilities in their biotech innovation platform, as well as the enormous impact we can drive together."