Shiru, a biotech startup that identifies and creates novel plant-based ingredients for the global food industry, closed a $17 million Series A round led by S2G Ventures and joined by returning investors Lux Capital, CPT Capital, Y Combinator, and Emles Venture Partners. They are joined by existing investors XFactor, Area VC, and Peak State Ventures. New investors The W Fund, SALT, and Veronorte also participated, bringing Shiru's total funding to date to more than $20 million.
Shiru discovers and creates novel plant-based ingredients so food companies can make delicious, nutritious, and sustainable foods. Shiru develops ingredients expected to meet or exceed their animal analogs on taste, texture, versatility, and cost at scale. The company's patent-pending discovery platform combines machine-learning algorithms and a precision biofermentation process. The result is a spectrum of novel plant-based ingredients that require a small fraction of the land, energy, and water footprint of animal-derived eggs, meat, milk, and gelatins.
Shiru aims to develop multiple types of functional ingredients, starting with proteins. Shiru's plant-based proteins are categorically different from conventional legume-based additives. The company's scientists have reverse-engineered some of the planet's most popular ingredients from the molecular level, replicating the taste, texture, gelation, foaming, emulsification, and binding abilities of animal proteins. Shiru's versatile ingredients can be used in a wide variety of products that currently require animal-derived proteins, from packaged baked goods and sauces to burgers and yogurt.
Founded by protein biochemist and entrepreneur Dr. Jasmin Hume, Shiru's goal is to make a full suite of sustainable ingredients to help conserve water, decelerate global warming, and halt our planet's extinction crisis. A growing number of consumers are demanding plant-based proteins, forecasted to be a $400 billion market in 2022. Shiru's technology makes it fast and easy for food companies to incorporate next-generation plant-based proteins quickly, without developing and producing the biotechnology in-house. Shiru plans to deliver its first ingredients to global food and CPG companies in 2022.
Shiru will use the newest investment to continue building its team, which spans basic science and fermentation to marketing and business development. Currently employing 22 people, Shiru plans to at least double its workforce within a year. Shiru will also move into a new custom-built headquarters in Alameda, Calif., in the first half 2022 and start scaling up manufacturing.