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Tunisian Insect Protein Startup nextProtein Raises $11.2 Million in Series A Funding

The startup helps tackle land and resource scarcity using insect protein as feedstock.

Founded in 2015, out of founding couple Syrine Chaalala and Mohamed Gastli’s garage, Tunisian startup nextProtein has developed a method of combining organic cycles of nature with the scalable efficiency of technology, to produce an alternative to wasteful and unsustainable agricultural systems--all through the life cycle of the Black Soldier Fly, fed on EU-approved organic waste.

The Paris-based startup has had investments from Xavier Nielʼs Kima Ventures, Silicon Valley business angel Jerome Lecat, and Khaled Helioui (investor in Uber and Deliveroo). According to data from agri-foodtech venture platform AFN, the $11.2 million investment is the largest early-stage agri-foodtech deal in Tunisia. Leading the round were a group of investors drawn together by Blue Oceans Partners, including Telos Impact and RAISE Impact. Further support came from Mirova and Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund, along with Japan’s Kepple Africa Ventures and Aucfan Incubate Inc.

“Insect protein provides solutions to major societal problems: a growing population with a higher demand for fish and meat, and a degrading environment,” says Chaalala, whose interest stemmed from her tenure as a UN Food & Agriculture Organization emergency officer.

In addition to their nextProtein animal feed and aquaculture product, the startup’s holistic process also produces nextOil, a lipid product, and nextGrow, a natural fertiliser.

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