Cell-cultured dairy company maker TurtleTree closes $30M in Series A

8 Nov 2021

Singapore’s TurtleTree successfully closed a $30 million Series A funding round led by Verso Capital. This investment is one of the largest rounds to date in Asia’s cell-based food sector and brings TurtleTree’s total investment figure to $40 million.

Armed with fresh funding, the cell-cultured dairy company said it will work to scale up its research and production capabilities, which includes investments in technology development and talent acquisition in order to increase the commercial production of its functional ingredients derived from cultured milk.

Cell-cultured dairy company maker TurtleTree closes $30M in Series A

A large portion of this Asian startup’s R&D will take place in California. In September, TurtleTree launch an R&D facility in Sacramento, and its Chief Strategy Officer Max Rye said this location will become the nexus for developing the functional ingredients and proteins found in milk.

“We can now set our sights on turning ambitions to reality, starting with our U.S.-based expansion plans and then moving on to the development and manufacture of our first consumer-ready products," Rye said.

Founded in 2019, this startup is already planning to launch its first commercial product: lactoferrin, a nutrient that is naturally occurring in both human and cow milk that is renowned for its immunity-supporting capabilities. No date was associated with the announcement of this launch, but the company did specify that its lactoferrin would be created in a cell-based process to mimic the expression of this nutrient as found in human milk.

Originally, TurtleTree was founded to replicate human milk in a laboratory setting. Such a lofty mission, if successful, has the potential to revolutionize infant nutrition as well as grant access to a range of complex nutrients that could be used as a value-add for adult drinks and beverages to help fight inflammation and improve gut health, according to a statement from the company this summer.

However, this summer, TurtleTree announced that it was expanding its portfolio beyond human milk to incorporate functional aimal dairy products into its cell-cultured R&D efforts. This functional food arm will exist in parallel to its infant nutrition arm. Initially, the company is working with bovine milk.

Animal-free dairy is a segment that is gaining steam, and so investing in scaling capabilities has the potential to keep TurtleTree at the head of the pack. However, there are several other competitors in the infant nutrition segment, including Biomilq and Helaina that are looking to cell-cultured dairy to disrupt the category. Outside of infant nutrition, the Singaporean startup faces even stiffer competition from innovators like Perfect Day that are striving to discover methods to create milk without the animal.

Nevertheless, TurtleTree is attracting the attention of large investors like Verso Captial, an investment firm that was involved in providing funding to food-tech titans Impossible Foods and Eat Just. And Verso expressed its confidence that TurtleTree is on a similar growth path.

“We are confident in TurtleTree's potential as a cell-based technology platform that will transform the food industry,” said the investment firm’s managing partner Julien Machot. Not only that, but along with finances, “VERSO Capital will share its wealth of knowledge in corporate finance and operations to help the company validate its unit economics and the overall business plan with its very first key accounts."

Related news

How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges

How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges

12 Aug 2022

Today’s consumers want plant-based milk products that mimic the desirable sensorial attributes of their non-dairy alternative counterparts. In response, brands and manufacturers are focusing on taste, texture, education and sustainability.

Read more 
Dairy industry explores advanced technologies to digitalise global production

Dairy industry explores advanced technologies to digitalise global production

11 Aug 2022

Dairy manufacturers are increasingly integrating automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into their production plants in order to meet growing global demand for dairy products, particularly in Asia.

Read more 
Parmesan partnership to put ‘blockchain ready’ digital chip on all cheese wheels

Parmesan partnership to put ‘blockchain ready’ digital chip on all cheese wheels

29 Jun 2022

A new line of food-safe and secure digital labels on each Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheel will deliver previously unseen levels of traceability, product control, and quality assurance, says the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano (CFPR).

Read more 
Dairy butter carbon footprint is 3.5 times larger than plant-based spreads, says Upfield

Dairy butter carbon footprint is 3.5 times larger than plant-based spreads, says Upfield

25 Apr 2022

Plant-based margarine manufacturer Upfield says its spreads have a 70% smaller carbon footprint, require half the amount of water and use two-thirds less land across the product cycle when compared to conventional butter, according to a life cycle...

Read more 
China leads the global boom for probiotics

China leads the global boom for probiotics

30 Mar 2022

Probiotics are experiencing a boom in global demand - particularly in China - as consumers look for functional ingredients in food and drink products that can improve their health. 

Read more 
Butter is Better: Keto is driving resurgence as a premium product

Butter is Better: Keto is driving resurgence as a premium product

11 Feb 2022

After years of being shunned as an ingredient, fat is back thanks in large part to the popularity of the keto diet. The market for keto products is growing steadily with the global value of this category forecast to reach $15.6 billion by 2027, accordi...

Read more 
Oats growing in popularity, winning awards and consumer favour

Oats growing in popularity, winning awards and consumer favour

10 Feb 2022

Oats have transformed from a breakfast ingredient to an increasingly common plant-based option, appearing in a multitude of applications.

Read more 
Chobani debuts plant-based coffee creamer

Chobani debuts plant-based coffee creamer

21 Jan 2022

After two years of producing dairy- and oat-based coffee creamers, Chobani is branching into plant-based coffee pairing options with the debut of Chobani Plant-Based Coffee Creamers. These creamers come in four flavors: Caramel Macchiato, Chocolate Haz...

Read more 
Animal-free dairy company raises $120M for commercialization

Animal-free dairy company raises $120M for commercialization

18 Jan 2022

Israeli animal-free dairy company Remilk raised $120 million in a Series B funding round led by Hanaco Ventures with participation from a number of other investors, including Impossible Foods backer CPT Capital, plant-based protein company Just, Yofix,...

Read more 
Chobani Sales surge as it moves closer to IPO

Chobani Sales surge as it moves closer to IPO

26 Nov 2021

Greek yogurt company Chobani saw its sales hit $1.2 billion as of Sept. 25 this year. That is only $200 million short of what the company recorded for all of 2020, when its sales rose 5.2% to $1.4 billion last year, according to a filing with the Secur...

Read more