The company – founded by Dr Ascher Shmulewitz three years ago – will use the raised capital to scale up its production and expand into strategic global markets with the launch of its first products next year.
It recently won the Startup Award for the Most Innovative Plant Based Protein at the Bridge2Food 2018 Summit in Lille, France.
The latest investment round was led by Swiss retailer Migros and JVP’s Margalit, one of several impact investments Margalit has made recently and part of his initiative to make Israel the forerunner of food innovation around the globe.
Additional investors included Bits x Bites, China’s first venture capital fund that invests in food technologies; Ran Tuttnauer, former owner of the Tuttnauer Group; ID Capital from Singapore and Yara Ventures from Spain.
Previous InnovoPro investors included Foodlab Capital, an Israeli investment house focused on food technologies, and the company’s founder, Dr Shmulewitz.
According to InnovoPro, the market for plant-based protein is estimated at $40bn. However, its eye is on targeting the even-larger $900bn market of meat, fish and poultry, which is searching for alternative ingredients for a broad range of food products.
“In view of the global food scarcity issues, the world cannot continue consuming meat and dairy food as it does today. As the world’s population continues to grow, we need to find new, sustainable food solutions,” said Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), and investor in InnovoPro.
“InnovoPro’s development is a global breakthrough poised to revolutionize the way the world consumes protein. The food corporations have already internalized the new reality and are forming new collaborations to manufacture the next generation of food for the global population.”
The company’s innovative plant-based protein has many benefits: It is free from gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar and soy; has not been genetically modified (non-GMO); is free of phytoestrogens; and does not list as an allergen.
Chickpeas are also considered a superfood with substantial health benefits.
Additionally, unlike many other plant-based proteins, chickpea protein functions as an emulsifier and foaming agent to provide dairy-, gluten- and egg-free foods with an airy and lightweight texture.
The protein is light in color and has no aftertaste, allowing it to be used in many applications. It also enables the removal of texturizing agents in a natural production process, with no additives.
Clean and green
“The growing demand for plant-based protein is setting new records with every year that goes by,” said Taly Nechushtan, CEO of InnovoPro.
“We believe that developing a tasty, gluten-free food ingredient could provide the answer to the rising demand for plant-based protein products.”
She explained that, while chickpea protein competes with other plant proteins, it features a different behavior pattern.
“For starters, the production of chickpea protein is green, clean and eco-friendly. Our process comprises production of protein and starch.”
She noted the company is not specifically targeting the vegetarian and vegan markets, but rather responding to consumers who want to reduce their meat and dairy consumption, as well as consumers who look for soy-free, dairy-free or gluten-free products.
“These consumers will not compromise on the product’s taste,” he said.
“This is a huge market, which accounts to 69% of Germany’s population and to 30% of the US population.”