DryGro (CO2i Ltd) has not only secured £1.4m in Series A investment to fund the growth of its game-changing plant protein innovation, but also secured nearly £1 million through crowdfunding site Seedrs.
DryGro, based in Oxford, is an agriculture technology company that is building a proprietary controlled-environment system which uses 99 per cent less water than conventional agriculture to grow animal feed protein. DryGro produces Lemna, a high-protein crop that can directly substitute for soybean meal in animal feed. Using a proprietary growing system, DryGro can produce animal feed protein 8x faster than traditional soy meal production. The company was founded at Oxford University in 2015, and launched its first pilot farm in Kenya in 2018.
DryGro aims to develop a network of industrial-scale facilities that enable the production of Lemna at prices that are competitive with soybean meal.
Soybean meal has a current market size of over $95bn/year. Soy is one of the four largest crops in the world. Production is already at an all-time high, and demand is anticipated to further increase in the years ahead. This increase will require a massive expansion in the land used for soy cultivation, contributing significantly to global deforestation, and putting further pressure on the natural ecosystem’s ability to sequester CO2.
DryGro’s production system is not vulnerable to outdoor weather conditions and can be built in most locations that have ambple sunlight and inexpensive land. DryGro enables local, consistent, high-quality production in countries that currently rely on imports of soybean meal, and adds to the world’s total capacity to grow food.
DryGro intends to use the proceeds of the Series A investment to advance the development of its Lemna production facility near Naivasha, Kenya. DryGro expects to enter commercial-scale production of Lemna in 2021.
DryGro has also received support from investors and advisors including: Sustainable Ventures, aquaculture accelerator Hatch, Innovate UK, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Climate-KIC programme, the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative and the European Space Agency .
DryGro was supported in this round by investment advisors Fonte Capital and EthicalFin.