Nasekomo secures €8m in funding to drive expansion of AI-assisted insect bioconversion

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/MicroStockHub
© GettyImages/MicroStockHub

Related tags Nasekomo AI Aquaculture Protein Insect InnovaFeed

Bulgarian startup, Nasekomo, reports that it has successfully concluded its Series A financing round, securing €8m (US$10.2m) in growth capital.

The funding, led by Invenio Partners—a private equity fund focusing on the Southeast European region—alongside support from high-net-worth individuals, follows closely on the heels of the startup’s partnership announcement with Siemens just a month prior.

Headquartered near Sofia, Bulgaria, Nasekomo intends to utilize the newly acquired funds to establish an extensive network of insect bioconversion facilities throughout Europe.

The company, opting for a franchise-based expansion model, has initiated the construction of its inaugural factory in Bulgaria in collaboration with a local entrepreneur, with that plant set to commence operations in 2025.

Nasekomo already operates an industrial-sized demonstration center, the Nasekomo Insect Center of Excellence ​(NICE), near Sofia, showcasing its automated insect rearing technology to potential investors, partners, and clients.

AI-driven business model

Founded in 2017 by Marc Bolard, Xavier, and Olga Marcenac, Nasekomo focuses on technologies to enhance insect protein production based on Black Soldier Flies (BSF).

It wants to “play a pivotal role in advancing the industrialization of insect farming for high-quality protein production, addressing global protein demand, food access challenges, and sustainability issues in feed production.”

And the Bulgarian business is actively developing an artificial intelligence (AI) driven business model to optimize, grow, and process larvae across a global network of franchisees.

Building on its December 2023 strategic partnership with Siemens, Nasekomo believes it can digitize the insect industry by leveraging robotic technology for insect cultivation, digitalizing engineering, and production processes, aligning digitalization with sustainability goals.

The collaborative effort is aimed at establishing an 'AI native' insect industry, maximizing returns through AI and machine learning (ML) solutions. 

In another strategic tie-up, first announced in 2020, Nasekomo runs a JV with French animal genetics experts​, Groupe Grimaud, called FlyGenetics. This alliance is focused on enhancing the efficiency of the BSF as an effective transformer of waste biomass.

Both partnerships are ultimately about making it easier for newcomers to enter the space and successfully operate insect bioconversion operations, a spokesperson told us.

InnovaFeed on track for US expansion

Today also sees InnovaFeed, a French company specializing in insect protein, reporting on its plans to inaugurate its North American Insect Innovation Center in Decatur, US during the first quarter of 2024.

On the strategic front, the company is poised to introduce its brand, Hilucia, a BSF derived protein meal designed for integration into feed formulations for aquaculture, monogastrics, and pets.

Moving into the second quarter, InnovaFeed plans to embark on the third phase of expansion at its Nesle, France site, to enhance the production capacity of the facility.

And, in the third quarter, the company said it will reveal more about the transformation of its Gouzeaucourt pilot site to establish Europe's first innovation hub exclusively dedicated to insect research.

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