Imagindairy start-up raises $28m for its cow-free dairy innovation

Israel-based FoodTech start-up Imagindairy, Ltd., developer of animal-free milk proteins, has secured an additional US$15 million
in an extended seed funding round in May. The initial round in November 2021 brought in $13 million. This brings the total investment capital to $28 million, making it one of the highestearning seed rounds in the alternative protein space.

Imagindairy is reinvigorating the dairy industry by producing sustainable, animal-free dairy milk proteins. Imagindairy uses advanced computational and molecular biology technologies to develop cost-effective processes that overcome considerable barriers in the emerging precision-fermentation industry. The company was co-founded by Eyal Afergan, PhD; Tamir Tuller, PhD; and Arie Abo, PhD, and utilizes 15 years of research in evolutionary genomics for the advancement of high-yield protein expression and production. In its mission to provide consumers sustainable, healthy, guilt-free dairy solutions, the alt-protein innovators found a way to create animal-free milk proteins from microorganisms via proprietary precision-fermentation technology. The technology allows the production of a broad spectrum of dairy analogs, from raw milk to cheese, without involving animals. Imagindairy’s dairy proteins are non-GMO, cholesterol-free, and possess the same flavour, texture  functionality, and nutritional value of their cow-based counterparts. Most importantly, they eliminate the burden that livestock imposes on the environment.

Alt-dairy protein production

Imagindairy’s proprietary platform significantly amplifies protein expression, enabling exceptionally cost-effective production of animal-free milk proteins. This overcomes one of the biggest hurdles in alt-dairy protein production, allowing brands to sell analog dairy products at consumer-friendly prices – a major requirement for mass-market adoption.

“This extremely successful seed round reflects a strong vote of confidence in Imagindairy and its vision to lead the animal-free dairy industry,” said Eyal Afergan, co-founder and CEO of Imagindairy. “This substantial injection of capital will serve to advance our ability to make true dairy alternative products a day-to-day reality.”

The funds raised in this seed round will be used to accelerate the company’s R&D efforts to launch a range of real dairy products without using animals. It will also help attract additional talent to its expanding workforce. Imagindairy is currently in dialogue with major dairy food producers seeking to diversify their product portfolios.

Shmuel Chafets, executive chairman and founder of Target Global, one of the funders, said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that, given the climate crisis and growing shortage of food, our dietary patterns and habits must change. Animal-free dairy has the potential to become one of the most environmentally impactful industries on the planet. We are strong believers that the Imagindairy team’s vast experience in manufacturing at scale, paired with the cutting-edge technology they have built, will be
transformational for this space.”