VTT spinoff raises €700K in venture capital to produce insect protein and lipids

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Live BSF larvae © Volare
Live BSF larvae © Volare

Related tags Insect Vtt technical research centre of finland

Volare, a spinoff from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, that specializes in using food production side streams as rearing substrates for Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae, has announced a funding round of €0.7m led by Helsinki based seed stage venture capitalist firm, Maki.vc.

The financing represents the largest investment, to date, in a company in the insect sector in Finland.

“At Maki.vc, we invest in early-stage deep technology solutions where we see commercial potential. Volare has it in spades: they can turn waste streams into valuable proteins without straining the environment, and their team is an excellent combination of research and customer expertise,”​ said Paavo Räisänen, investment director, Maki.vc.

In addition, the company reported that Jarna Hyvönen, an expert in circular economy business operations, has joined Volare as its chief operating officer. The innovator currently employs six people, and it intends to bring its total headcount to 10 this year. 

Volare managment team: COO Jarna Hyvönen (left), CEO Tuure Parviainen (middle), CTO Matti Tähtinen (right) © Volare

Volare refines food industry waste into protein and lipids for fish feed, pet food and cosmetics industries. It sees such products as replacements for other animal proteins, soybean meal and palm oil.

The insect product company’s goal is to radically reduce the environmental load of the food chain.

“Our production makes use of upcycling, which is the circular economy at its purest. The value of the upcycled material grows without any waste,”​ said Volare co-founder, CTO Matti Tähtinen.

And the Volare team claim the environmental impact of insect production is negligible compared to conventional protein and oil feed raw materials, producing only a fraction of the emissions of those other inputs.

Industrial scale  

The startup has a pilot plant up and running and is aiming for rapid growth. It is planning to build a commercial scale manufacturing facility in two years’ time, and to subsequently build multiple units  in Europe on an annual basis. 

It claims its industrial scale plant will be able to feed 4.75 million salmon in a year.

The groundwork on the Volare technology was carried out at the VTT LaunchPad business incubator.

“Volare’s technology and the opportunities it offers are an excellent example of how VTT provides a platform to tackle major global challenges and create exponential hope,”​ said Lotta Partanen, manager of that Finnish incubator program.

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