Will the protein of the next breakout faux-burger or seafood filet sandwich be grown from mushrooms or fish cells? Either of those possibilities became slightly more likely after two innovative food tech companies were the winner and runner-up, respectively, of the Radicle Protein Challenge, held by Switzerland-based international food giant Syngenta.

Radicle Growth, a company-building platform for early-stage ag and food technologies, announced Nov. 3 that MycoTechnology, Inc. has won the Radicle Protein Challenge and secured a $1 million investment. BlueNalu, Inc. was named the runner-up and secured a $250,000 investment. Radicle and Syngenta Group, a leading agriculture company, constructed the Radicle Challenge to uncover innovation and invest in two technology companies. The contest drew 150 applicants. 

MycoTechnology, Inc. which develops protein and other food ingredients from mushrooms, was selected as the winner for its organic food processing platform that transforms agricultural material into functional ingredients. 

“All of us at MycoTechnology are thrilled to be the winner of the Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta,” said Alan Hahn, CEO of MycoTechnology. “Global food security is a major issue that will only be solved through innovation and partnerships. I believe that our unique mushroom fermentation platform, combined with Syngenta’s global scale and expertise, will allow us to play a pivotal role in helping to feed an exponentially growing population. We are honored to receive this recognition and look forward to partnering with both Radicle Growth and Syngenta.”

An innovative food company making seafood products directly from fish cells, BlueNalu, Inc., was selected as the runner-up for its solution to secure a sustainable protein source that addresses supply chain issues through cell-based seafood products made directly from the cells of fish.

In addition to securing new funding, MycoTechnology, Inc. and BlueNalu, Inc. will benefit from access to Radicle and Syngenta’s broad agriculture expertise and global ag and food networks to accelerate the growth of their technologies around the world.

Speaking on the opportunity to uncover protein innovation from around the world and partner with innovators to ensure their success, Erik Fyrwald CEO of Syngenta Group, said, “The demand for protein is rising and as a result the need for new protein technologies is increasing in every geography, socioeconomic background and age group. This is not a fad, but rather a new way [that] consumers are getting their protein. Partnering with Radicle in this unique way to uncover innovation in the protein space from around the world allows us to infuse the level of capital and expertise that will be required for these trailblazing entrepreneurs to overcome challenges to grow this category. We congratulate MycoTechnology, Inc. on winning this challenge and we look forward to working alongside Radicle Growth and MycoTechnology, Inc. and BlueNalu, Inc. to help scale their technologies.”

“Global demand for seafood is at an all-time high, but unfortunately our supply cannot keep pace. We must find a new solution to feed our planet,” said Lou Cooperhouse, CEO and co-founder of BlueNalu. “BlueNalu is developing seafood products, directly from fish cells, that will be healthy and nutritious for people, sustainable for our planet, and will facilitate food security for nations around the world. The funding and support from Syngenta and Radicle Growth are greatly valued, as their expertise and global reach will clearly help us to achieve our mission. We are so thankful and honored to have this recognition.”

The finalists of the Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta pitched in a virtual event that attendees from around the globe tuned in to listen to. Based on audience feedback on the speed pitches from the four finalists,  Cell Farm was voted the “People’s Choice Award Winner,” in addition to the overall challenge winners. Cell Farm will be engaged with Radicle Growth and Syngenta executives to further discuss its roadmap for success.

“It was my privilege to serve on the panel of judges who selected the final winner for Syngenta’s Radicle Protein Challenge,” said Ann M Veneman, former executive director of UNICEF (2005-2010) and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (2001-2005).  “The Challenge showcased promising new protein innovations from around the world.”

To stay informed on Radicle Challenges, visit https://radicle.vc/the-radicle-challenge/. To connect and learn more about Radicle Growth follow the program on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

David Murray can be reached at journal@hpj.com

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