TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Specialty minerals company ICL has invested €2.75 million ($2.9 million) in Arkeon, a sustainable protein ingredients company based in Vienna, through ICL Planet Startup Hub, its innovation and investment platform.
The investment will support Arkeon’s one-step fermentation bioprocess, which creates protein ingredients by capturing greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and converting it into the 20 proteinogenic amino acids necessary for human nutrition. The process uses archaea, a single-cell microorganism, which naturally feeds on carbon dioxide to transform environmental emissions into alternative protein ingredients that are carbon negative and clean label, according to the company.
“I dedicated much of the past decade to exploring new and sustainable biotechnological methods of alternative protein production,” said Gregor Tegl, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Arkeon. “Our team has harnessed proficiencies in microbiology and gas fermentation to create an entirely new regenerative food-production system. ICL’s support and partnership will be instrumental in helping us scale our archaea-derived protein production capabilities.”
ICL is leading Arkeon’s current SAFE investment round, which totals more than €4 million ($4.2 million) and includes other investors. As the newest member of the Planet Startup Hub portfolio, Arkeon will have access to ICL’s R&D labs and production facilities.
“Arkeon has achieved a major breakthrough, by finding a way to nourish people and revitalize our ecosystems at the same time,” said Hadar Sutovsky, vice president of external innovation at ICL and general manager of ICL Planet. “Arkeon’s dedication to developing a renewable and easy to use protein is completely in-line with our organization’s commitment to creating impactful solutions for humanity’s sustainability challenges in the global food markets.”
ICL launched Planet Startup Hub in 2021 to nurture and advance both early stage and pilot-ready innovative companies operating within the food technology and agriculture technology domains. Arkeon marks the platform’s third investment over the past 12 months.
Other companies in the ICL Planet Startup Hub portfolio include Protera, a company using artificial intelligence to design and develop new proteins; Plantible Foods, a firm producing functional proteinsderived from lemna; and Lavie Bio, a company using data and advanced informatics to develop bio-stimulant and bio-pesticide products.