Microalgae is everywhere, it seems. It’s being used as a way to replace fossil fuels and is used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and as a food source. It’s a substantial market, too, expected to be valued at $25.4 billion by 2033.
Brevel, a Tel Aviv–based company, is developing microalgae into an alternative protein and today announced $18.5 million in seed funding.
Founded in 2016 by three brothers, Yonatan Golan, Matan Golan and Ido Golan, Brevel developed a proprietary technology that combines fermentation and light to make a protein from microalgae that is sold to food companies as a powder for use in plant-based products.
The company claims the protein is “the most sustainable on earth” and can be considered a “ghost protein” because it doesn’t affect the flavor, color or taste of foods and therefore can be used in a wide variety of food applications.
In addition, that method helps the company achieve cost parity with plant-based proteins like pea and soy because it can generate co-products alongside the protein, including functional lipids and pigments, according to the company.
Brevel is one of numerous companies using microalgae for food products, like AlgaeCore Technologies, Algenuity and NewFish.
For its part, Brevel will leverage the new funds into the continued development of its protein. The company is initially targeting the dairy alternative sector and currently operates a 500-liter pilot in Israel and will move into a commercial-scale factory with the capacity of a 5,000-liter fermentation and light system.
Beyond that, the company is preparing to build an even larger facility with a total capacity of 900,000 liters, planned for 2025.
Brevel recently signed an agreement with Vgarden, a plant-based cheese company, which will be the first to incorporate Brevel’s protein into its plant-based cheese. The first products are expected to be on shelves in 2024.
NevaTeam Partners led the seed round, which included $8.4 million raised in June 2022 that converted from grants and convertible loans into shares. The leftover $10.1 million was recently raised.
The investment was supported by the European Union’s EIC Fund, other food and climate funds and food industry strategic partners. As part of the investment, Shai Levy, managing partner at NevaTeam Partners, is joining Brevel’s board.