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Hanaco Ventures leads $120m round for animal-free dairy start-up

Remilk uses a fermentation process to produce animal-free dairy proteins and expects to launch its first products later this year.

Israeli agtech start-up Remilk has raised $120 million in a Series B funding round led by Hanaco Ventures.

The oversubscribed round also included participation from CPT Capital, Tal Ventures, Fresh Fund and Aliya Capital, among others.

Remilk uses a patented yeast-based fermentation process, which produces animal-free milk proteins that it claims are “indistinguishable in taste and function from cow milk proteins, but [are] free of lactose, cholesterol, and growth hormones.”

It also claims that unlike plant-based dairy alternatives, Remilk’s dairy proteins have the same physical characteristics as animal proteins, giving it the same ability to melt, stretch and blend.

The start-up estimates its fermentation process uses 1 percent of the land and needs 5 percent of the water required to produce comparable products in the traditional dairy manufacturing process, while producing only 4 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions.

A statement from Remilk said the company is in discussion with “dozens of companies, including some of world’s most popular brands,” to map out an animal-free dairy future, but did not specify their names.

Remilk will use the proceeds from the Series B to accelerate and scale the buildout of its manufacturing capabilities. The start-up expects to have products featuring Remilk in the market later this year.

Funding for innovative food production techniques – such as cell-cultured meat, plant-based meat and fermentation – has doubled year-on-year since 2018, according to Agfunder data.

The sector took $500 million in total fundraisings in 2018, $1 billion in 2019 and recorded a total take of $2.1 billion in 2020.

“It is essential for the future of our planet that we liberate the food chain from dependency on animals. We do so by crafting real dairy that tastes and feels the same, minus the cow,” said Remilk chief executive and co-founder Aviv Wolff.

“This funding propels us on our journey to transform the dairy category into one that delivers delicious, nutritious products without harm to people, planet, or animals.”