Mycelium proteins developer Infinite Roots has attracted investment from a consortium that includes the holding company of Germany-based confectionery maker Haribo.
REWE Group, a major food retailer in Germany with a wide scope of other business interests, also joined the $58m Series B round in the Hamburg-based bio-tech, previously trading as Mushlabs.
Infinite Roots grows and harvests mycelium, a protein derived from the root structure of fungi, typically mushrooms, and increasingly used in plant-based food applications.
“Leveraging cutting-edge technology, the company specialises in the development of mushroom mycelium-based nutrition, aiming to address global challenges such as climate change, resource conservation, and food security,” the company explained in a statement.
Using a mycelium fermentation process, Infinite Roots said it aims to cater to the demand for “healthy dietary alternatives“ by providing a “healthy range of food with diverse applications, extending far beyond meat substitutes”.
Approached by Just Food for clarification on the types of products and desired sales channels, the company responded: “We take both a B2C and B2B approach for different geographies worldwide.”
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Pressed further, Infinite Roots added: “We are currently focussing on meat alternatives and are in consultation with global partners to determine scenarios for market entries, taking into account regulatory approvals. A more concrete announcement will be made soon.”
Founder and CEO Dr. Mazen Rizk said in the statement: “We are in a unique position to define a new era of mushroom mycelium-based products. With Infinite Roots’ technology and products, we aspire to lead the monumental shift to a more sustainable and healthy food system.“
The investment round was led by Dr. Hans Riegel Holding (HRH), “one of the two holding companies“ of Haribo, according to the statement. Haribo was set up by the Riegels in 1920 and the business remains privately-owned under the new generation of the family.
“With HRH, Infinite Roots brings on board a strong commercial partner with international expertise in launching products in growing consumer markets,” the mycelium company said.
In the same statement, Dr. Reinhard Schneider, the managing director of the lead investor, said “we at Dr. Hans Riegel Holding invest in future-defining technologies”.
Also joining the funding round was the European Innovation Council Fund, which invests in start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the purview of the European Commission.
Betagro Ventures also participated, along with previous investors Clay Capital, FoodLabs, Redalpine, Simon Capital and Happiness Capital.
“With this new funding, the company moves into a new era of commercial growth, planning to expand its production capacities and invest in launch activities worldwide,“ Infinite Roots said.
Just Food has badgered representatives for Infinite Roots again to ascertain the company’s funding to date, the business strategy around sales channels and the nature of its products or ingredients.