FreezeM, an Agri-tech company from Israel, announced it has raised €6.3M in European Innovation Council (EIC) funding. The combined grant and equity investment will aid the company's journey toward making insect farming simple, sustainable and accessible for everyone on a global scale through its unique technology.
Founded in 2018, FreezeM has developed cutting-edge biotechnology centered on Black Soldier Fly (BSF) breeding, helping to increase alternative protein production capacity for livestock while at the same time salvaging scarce global farmland, decreasing ocean exhaustion, and repurposing organic waste.
Insects, and in particular BSF, have been proven to be a great source of protein for humans and animals alike, containing up to 45% of high-quality protein. However, conventionally, BSFs are difficult, unpredictable, and expensive to reproduce, store and transport. To address this, FreezeM's pioneering technology stops or pauses the BSF development at the egg or neonate larvae stage, permitting their safe transportation over long distances, reducing costs by an estimated 30% and increasing protein production capacity and efficiency by 25% - a technological feat that no other company in the world has achieved.
FreezeM was selected as a recipient of the EIC funding following a rigorous process introduced under Horizon Europe, involving an ideas screening stage, a full application assessed by external experts, and an interview with a jury of experienced investors and entrepreneurs. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors, and ecosystem actors.
This news follows FreezeM entering a strategic partnership with German-based Hermetia earlier this year to provide the Israeli-based company with instant access to a fully operational BSF Breeding Facility at the heart of Europe to run its novel post-breeding industrial and commercial activities. As of January 2023, this will see the joint production and distribution of PauseM® - ready-to-use packages of suspended BSF neonates with an extended shelf-life – across Europe, removing any distance constraints while ensuring a high survival rate.
The new funding will also support FreezeM as it enters an R&D collaboration with The National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev Ltd. (NIBN), a Bio accelerator affiliated with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. The goal of the collaboration is to evaluate and test the feasibility of a technology developed by Dr. Isam Khalaila from Ben-Gurion University and specifically validate it with BSF embryos. The technology enables targeted delivery of biological materials to ovaries in order to be able to perform genetic manipulation on hundreds of embryos simultaneously, instead of single injections as performed today. If successful, FreezeM has the right to receive an exclusive license of the technology for possible applications in BSF and mealworm. This collaboration will add another important capability to FreezeM's genetic toolbox that can be applied to a variety of genetic and biotechnological applications (creating "super flies" with enhanced properties).
Dr. Yuval Gilad, FreezeM CEO, said, "We are very grateful to the European Innovation Council for their financial support and that they have recognized us as a company with a breakthrough innovation within our industry. We are very proud of the work that we do, and of the value our pioneering technology provides the insect protein market, and in particular, the Black Soldier Fly. The world is facing an unprecedented food crisis, with the global population expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050. Thus new technologies are needed urgently to sustainably produce, store and transport animal protein feed."
For more information: