Irish agri-tech business Hexafly has topped up its funding pot after securing a further €1.1 million to expand into international markets including Europe, the US and Asia.
To date, the insect specialist has secured a total of €2.2 million. This includes €900,000 in angel funding, with Enterprise Ireland, SOS Ventures, Yield Lab and Cedas Foundation making up the rest of the two rounds.
This latest finance round will help to fund 50 new jobs over the next two years, as well as a new larger production facility as well as powering the company’s international expansion.
Hexafly was established in 2016 by Alvan Hunt and John Lynam in response to the growing issue of the global food shortage.
The founders developed an innovative method of sustainable insect farming that converts low value waste streams – using black solider flies – into high-value feeds, fertilizers and bioplastics.
Hexafly supplies these insect-derived products to a range of companies in the aqua and animal feed, medical, cosmetic, food and plant nutrition industries.
With more than 90% of its insect-based products exported and growing demand in the Far East and US, the company is planning to pursue a €10 million series A round in 2019 to facilitate the construction of a much larger production facility.
“Before we set up Hexafly, John and I knew that we wanted to start a company that would tackle a global issue, while being sustainable,” said CEO and co-founder Alvan Hunt.
He added: “Insect-derived protein produces significantly more protein per square metre when compared to soymeal, it is 100% natural and leads to up to a 90% reduction CO² emissions when compared to other protein feed ingredients.
“Moreover, the animals that eat this insect-derived protein are actually healthier as no additives or chemicals are used in the products.
“Our goal is to educate people about the benefits of insect-derived protein, how sustainable it is and essentially find smart ways to feed the growing global population.”
Julian Seymour, syndicates manager, HBAN, said: “Hexafly is a really innovative company with huge promise. Although the company already has very strong export levels, there are other vast markets, including Asia and the US, that offer expansion possibilities.
“Alvan and John are visionary entrepreneurs; they sought to tackle a global issue by developing an alternative protein source. The investment in Hexafly is significant and highlights the high-potential of these types of sustainable companies.”