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Miruku dairy seed system start-up raises Pre-Series A

February 19, 2024

Miruku, a startup at the forefront of molecular farming, has announced the successful closure of an NZ$8 million Pre-Series A funding round. The New Zealand-based company is revolutionizing the agricultural sector with its innovative 'dairy seed system' that produces novel dairy proteins and fats within the seeds of row crops.

This groundbreaking technology enables the production of plant-based dairy alternatives directly from crops, offering a sustainable and efficient solution to meet global dairy demand. Miruku's approach promises to reduce the environmental footprint of dairy production, aligning with global efforts towards sustainable agriculture. The company's technology aims to provide a versatile substitute for animal-derived dairy ingredients in food production, aligning with consumer trends towards plant-based diets.

Miruku plans to work with farming partners in Australia for its initial crop cultivation, then expand into key markets including the USA and Canada.

The company's co-founders comprise of industry veterans with significant expertise in their respective fields. CEO Amos Palfreyman, who previously worked for a specialist agrifood VC incubator co-founded by Fonterra, leads the company alongside Executive Chair Ira Bing, with a background in investment and life sciences. Chief Science Officer Professor, Oded Shoseyov, is renowned for his contributions to protein engineering in plants, while Professor Harjinder Singh, a global leader in the field of dairy chemistry, heads ingredient development.

Miruku’s recent funding round was led by Motion Capital, a new venture capital firm out of New Zealand focused on decarbonisation.

"We are delighted to be supporting Miruku to re-write the rules of dairy production," stated Lachlan Nixon, Managing Partner of Motion Capital. "Miruku’s molecular farming technology enables the production of bio-similar dairy proteins and fats at a significantly cheaper cost, as well as with significantly less environmental impact, than traditional animal agriculture.

Existing investors provided significant support to the capital raise, with Movac (who led the previous Seed round) and NZGCP’s Aspire NZ Seed fund providing more than NZ$5 million in follow-on investment into the company. New investors in Miruku include Cultivate Ventures, Icehouse Ventures, and NZVC.

The funds will be utilized to advance Miruku’s development of its dairy seed system, conduct trials in support of regulatory approvals and co-develop products with food industry partners. This strategic investment supports Miruku's B2B model, focusing on capital-efficient growth.

Miruku's unique approach leverages plants for dairy protein production, avoiding the need for microbial fermentation platforms. This method is not only more efficient but also integrates seamlessly with existing agricultural systems, promoting biodiversity and climate resilience.

"Miruku is committed to innovating at the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology," commented CEO Amos Palfreyman. "Our technology offers a scalable solution to meet the growing demand for sustainable dairy alternatives, supporting the global transition towards a more sustainable food system."

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