Israeli food-tech startup Phytolon bags $14.5M in Series A funding to produce fermentation-based natural food colors
The need for new natural food colors continues to accelerate due to growing consumer awareness and demands for healthier food colors to replace the synthetics that may have adverse effects on our health. The lack of reliable natural alternatives with respect to quality and cost-efficiency has made the use of natural food colors a huge challenge for the food industry.
Enter Phytolon, a Misgav, Israel-based food technology startup that offers a technology designed for the production of natural food colorants using bakers yeast cells as bio-factory. The company specializes in fermentation to create a natural food colorant.
We covered Phytolon two years ago after the startup closed $4.1 million in funding for its fermentation-based technology for the production of plant-based food colors. The investment was backed by Millennium Food-Tech, EIT Food, (Europe’s leading food innovation initiative), Consensus Business Group (CBG), and others. Since its last funding, Phytolon has received the attention of new investors and VC firms.
Today, Phytolon announced it has secured $14.5 million in funding led by DSM Venturing, with participation from Cibus Fund, Ginkgo Bioworks (in-kind investment in the form of Foundry services), and The Trendlines Agrifood Fund. Other backers also include some of Phytolon’s current shareholders: The Trendlines Group (the largest shareholder in the company), Arkin Holdings, Millennium Foodtech, Agriline (administered by Consensus Business Group), Stern Tech, and OpenValley/Yossi Ackerman.
Phytolon will use the new capital infusion to further progress its technology towards commercialization.
Phytolon was founded in 2018 based on licensed technology through the Weizmann Institute of Science. The company leverages a proprietary, fermentation-based technology to produce plant-based food colors. Since its inception two years ago, Phytolon has been awarded many accolades: a finalist at MassChallenge Israel 2020, AgriVest 2019, Slingshot 2019, and a runner-up in the Calcalist-Tnuva Foodtech 2019 competition.
In a statement, Phytolon Co-founder and CEO Dr. Halim Jubran said: “The investments of DSM Venturing, Cibus Fund, and Ginkgo Bioworks open the door for broad penetration of our products in the global food industry. We are excited to have new investors who share our vision to create healthy, efficient, and sustainable food systems via biotechnology.”
Since current natural food colors are agriculture-dependent and mostly derived from fruit and vegetables, Phytolon’s technology produces betalain pigments by fermentation of baker’s yeast. Phytolon offers a wide range of natural colors from yellow to purple, at competitive coloring performance and cost-in-use, for multiple food categories like alternative meat, dairy, frozen products, baked goods, confectionery, and snacks.