Boarding Pass “We can revolutionize the food industry by offering a sustainable and safer protein source”
“We can revolutionize the food industry by offering a sustainable and safer protein source”
PoLoPo has raised $1.75 million to develop the production of animal-based proteins in plants
“The egg-protein market has traditionally been affected by various challenges such as bird flu outbreaks, contamination risks, and egg shortages, which can all compromise the supply chain,” said the team at PoLoPo. “However, PoLoPo's plant-derived product eliminates these issues as it does not carry any animal pathogens, ensuring a solid and sustainable supply chain. By taking animals out of the equation, PoLoPo is offering a solution that addresses food safety concerns and offers increased efficiency.”
PoLoPo is an ingredient company operating on a B2B model, collaborating with food industry manufacturers to produce egg protein powder for use in commercial food products. The egg protein market is estimated to be worth $26.6 billion, and the company’s approach offers a safer and more efficient solution to the current challenges facing the egg-protein market.
“It has the potential to revolutionize the food industry by offering a sustainable and safer protein source,” the company said.
PoLoPo joined CTech for its Startup Boarding Pass series to explore how it intends to take on the egg industry.
Company Name: PoLoPo
Production of animal-based proteins in plants.
Year of Founding: 2022
Last Investment Round: $1.75 million
Last Investment Stage: Pre-seed
Date of Last Investment: March 2023
Total investment to date: $1.75 million
Investors (leading and all): Lead: FoodLabs; Additional: CPT Capital, Siddhi Capital, Milk and Honey Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, HachCapital
Current number of employees: 4
Open positions: N/A
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/company/polopo/
How was the idea born?
The idea for PoLoPo was born from the scientific knowledge and expertise of its founders, Dr. Raya Liberman-Aloni and Dr. Maya Sapir-Mir, both of whom have PhDs in plant sciences with a specialization in synthetic biology in plants. As precision fermentation companies started to gain momentum, they saw an opportunity to use plants as green protein factories. Drawing on their years of experience in controlling protein expression patterns in plants, they began exploring various crop and plant models to develop their technology. After careful evaluation, they decided to focus on developing their platform in potatoes. This was the inception of PoLoPo.
What is the need for the product?
Initially, we discussed the idea of creating protein-rich potatoes for developing countries. However, as we delved deeper into the environmental impact of animal-based protein production, we shifted our focus to producing plant-based proteins that are identical to their animal-based counterparts (molecular farming).
Our first target is egg protein (Ovalbumin) for the food industry. The egg protein market is enormous and continues to grow every year, with an increasing demand for powdered egg protein and egg-white protein alternatives. By providing an animal-based egg protein that is produced in plants, we hope to meet this demand while reducing the environmental impact of protein production.
How is it changing the market?
The egg-protein market has traditionally been affected by various challenges such as bird flu outbreaks, contamination risks, and egg shortages, which can all compromise the supply chain. However, PoLoPo's plant-derived product eliminates these issues as it does not carry any animal pathogens, ensuring a solid and sustainable supply chain. By taking animals out of the equation, PoLoPo is offering a solution that addresses food safety concerns and offers increased efficiency.
In addition, PoLoPo's product will be identical to ovalbumin from eggs, which means that no food technology adjustments are required. This provides a significant advantage over plant-based protein alternatives that may require additional processing or modifications to achieve the same properties as animal-based proteins. PoLoPo's innovative approach offers a safer and more efficient solution to the current challenges facing the egg-protein market, and has the potential to revolutionize the food industry by offering a sustainable and safer protein source.
How big is the market for the product and who are its main customers?
As an ingredient company, PoLoPo operates on a B2B model, collaborating with food industry manufacturers to produce egg protein powder for use in commercial food products. While the egg protein market is estimated to be worth $26.6 billion, our aim is not to replace the entire industry but to deliver a portion of it through our innovative molecular farming approach.
By providing a high-quality, plant-derived alternative to animal-based egg protein, we hope to capture a portion of the market while also promoting sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of protein production. Working closely with food industry manufacturers, we are committed to delivering an exceptional product that meets their specific needs and requirements.
Does the product exist already? If not - at what stage is it and when is it expected to hit the market?
The product is currently in development, and we recently closed our pre-Seed funding round to support its production. Our team is actively working on building the technology and making progress toward our goals.
We expect to hit several key milestones over the coming year, including enhanced protein production in potatoes and the creation of functional Ovalbumin samples. While we are still in the early stages of development, we are committed to advancing our technology as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Who are the main competitors in this sector and how big are they?
In the field of molecular farming, there are several companies like Moolec Science, Core Biogenesis, and Bright Biotech, which are more advanced than PoLoPo in terms of development. However, each company has its unique approach and focuses on producing different proteins using different plant models and technologies. As for egg proteins, PoLoPo is currently the only molecular farming company in the market with this focus, so we don't consider other molecular farming companies as direct competitors in this regard.
What is the added value that the founders bring to the company and the product?
Both of our founders bring extensive scientific knowledge and expertise to PoLoPo, allowing us to develop our technology with precision and efficiency. Dr. Raya Liberman-Aloni, our CTO, has significant experience in expressing functional proteins in various plant models and evaluating new technologies for protein expression, accumulation, and extraction. Her expertise and understanding of the technical aspects of the product are instrumental to the success of the company.
Dr. Maya Sapir-Mir, our CEO, also brings experience in the start-up world. Her knowledge of the challenges that startups face is invaluable in helping PoLoPo navigate the early stages of its development.
The long-standing and strong friendship between our founders also plays a significant role in the success of the company. Their complementary skills, shared vision, and trust in one another create a positive and collaborative work environment that fosters innovation and growth. Overall, the combination of scientific knowledge, industry experience, and strong personal relationships make our founders' contributions to PoLoPo invaluable.
What will the money coming in from the round be used for?
The pre-Seed funding we received will be primarily used for research and development of our molecular farming platform. As a company specializing in synthetic biology in plants, we understand that R&D in this area is a long-term endeavor that cannot be rushed.
Over the next couple of years, we will be focusing on developing our platform technology, which involves creating a potato that can produce and accumulate high levels of proteins in the plant tuber. This will require significant investment in research and development, as well as ongoing testing and refinement of the technology.
In addition to R&D, we will also be using the funding to produce small-scale, functional egg protein samples for evaluation by food industry manufacturers. This will allow us to better understand the commercial potential of our product and make any necessary adjustments before scaling up production.
Finally, we recognize the importance of regulatory compliance in the food industry, and we will also be using the funding to ensure that our technology is in full compliance with all relevant regulations. This includes working with regulatory bodies to ensure that our product meets all safety and quality standards, and preparing for any potential hurdles that may arise during the commercialization process.
Overall, the pre-Seed funding will be used to support our R&D efforts, production of functional samples, and regulatory compliance, all of which are critical components of our path to commercialization.
In the "Startup Boarding Pass" section, CTech will cover the (relatively) small investments made in companies during the early stages of their existence - and the entrepreneurs and startups who have not yet had the opportunity to reveal their stories to the world. Please use the linked form and fill it out according to the guidelines. This form is intended for startups raising between $500,000 and $3 million from venture capital funds, angels, or official grants from Israeli and foreign institutions. If relevant, someone at CTech will be in touch for follow-up questions.