The Belgian foodtech startup Paleo has closed a Series A funding of €12 million to scale up production of key ingredients for plant-based meat and fish alternatives through precision fermentation technology. It also enables the move into commercial production.
Paleo is a Belgian precision fermentation company that allows food manufacturers to offer a “real taste” experience, by providing key ingredients for environmentally friendly and cruelty-free meat and fish alternatives. To scale and grow, Paleo just raised €12 million in a Series A funding round, led by DSM Venturing and Planet A Ventures, joined by Gimv, SFPIM Relaunch, Beyond Impact, and Siddhi Capital.
Conventional meat production has an immense environmental burden, from the production of greenhouse gases, energy and land use, to its heavy reliance on antibiotics, hormones, and water. Plant-based meat and fish alternatives are more sustainable, but for many consumers their taste and nutritional value are not convincing. Paleo developed a technology to produce ingredients that lift these obstacles. Paleo’s innovative foodtech solution is aiming to bring the real taste of meat to plant-based foods.
Hermes Sanctorum, the co-founder and CEO of Paleo stated: “The market for plant-based meat and fish is ready to grow further, provided that consumers find the taste convincing. There’s only so much you can do with artificial coloring and additives. Adding our ingredients to plant-based meat alternatives is a game changer that brings the experience of ‘real’ meat. You can smell it, you can taste it, and you can see it because our ingredients provide that vibrant red color that transforms into caramelized brown when you grill it. And no animal is involved whatsoever defining our ingredients as vegan. It’s great that our venture round is joined by industry expert investors, who tasted our Paleo ingredients and are fully convinced of their potential.”
Founded in 2020, Paleo focuses on myoglobin, a protein that makes plant-based foods look and taste like meat or fish in terms of color, smell, taste, and aromatic experience and provides added nutritional value. The meat and fish proteins of Paleo are 100% identical to animal proteins and 100% GMO-free. Globally, only a few companies are producing meat proteins through precision fermentation. Paleo is the only one to produce a final product that is considered GMO-free.
Currently, Paleo offers a protein portfolio of six different species (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, tuna, and even mammoth).
Jan Christoph Gras, Partner at Planet A Ventures, commented: “Transitioning to a plant-based diet is crucial for accomplishing our net-zero objectives. Animal agriculture accounts for nearly 15% of total global emissions, while also driving biodiversity loss, water consumption and nitrogen & phosphorus pollution. With its innovative precision fermentation technology, Paleo has broken down barriers to the widespread adoption of plant-based meat alternatives. Its realistic taste and highly functional protein make it an attractive option for even the most skeptical consumers of meat and fish substitutes.”
Paleo will invest the fresh capital to hit strategic milestones and commercial objectives. The first aim is scaling the technology and move towards commercial production. In parallel, Paleo will file for regulatory approval in key markets.
Andy de Jong, the co-founder and COO of Paleo stated: “We think 2025 is a credible timeline to have plant-based food with Paleo ingredients on the market. We are happy to see keen interest from international, established food manufacturers in our ingredient portfolio. The food industry has barely scratched the surface of what is possible with precision fermentation, and Paleo will be at the forefront of this revolution in food production.”