India’s insect biotech startup Loopworm announced Wednesday that it has raised a $3.4 million seed round co-led by Omnivore and WaterBridge Ventures.

The round also saw participation from Titan Capital and leading angel investors including Nadir Godrej (Godrej Agrovet), Sanjiv Rangrass (ex-ITC), and Akshay Singhal (Log9 Materials), Loopworm said in a statement.

The firm said it plans to use the seed funding for talent acquisition, research and development (R&D) (including building world-class laboratories), and to launch their first factory for scaling up production.

“We are thrilled to have Omnivore, Waterbridge, Titan Capital, and several experienced angels, including Nadir Godrej, as investors in Loopworm. We plan to use the new funding to set up our first Loop Factory in North Bangalore, hire talent, and accelerate R&D,” said Ankit Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri, Co-Founders of Loopworm.

Loopworm is a startup that optimizing insect farming for smallholders while producing value-added nutrients and ingredients for business to business (B2B) customers.

The firm is Omnivore’s second investment under its OmniX Bio initiative, which backs early-stage agrifood life science startups.

Based in Bangalore, Loopworm was founded in 2019 by IIT Roorkee graduates Ankit Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri. The two young entrepreneurs are simultaneously solving India’s food waste crisis, increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers, and showcasing the power of Indian biotechnology to address environmental challenges.

Using multi-species insect biotechnology, the firm is upcycling food waste into protein-rich nutrients and value-added ingredients. It aims to help transform multiple sectors including aquaculture, pet food, and nutraceuticals.

Emulating poultry integration in India, the firm is building decentralized insect rearing facilities in partnership with smallholder farmers. Over the next five years, the startup aims to produce 300,000 tonnes of sustainable insect-based protein per annum, creating value from 7.5 million tonnes of food waste and agricultural byproducts.

“Omnivore is delighted to back Loopworm under our OmniX Bio initiative, which seeks to blaze a path forward for agrifood life sciences in India,

“Loopworm sees massive potential in transforming cultivated insects into value-added nutrients and ingredients, and Omnivore believes the company will quickly become one of India’s leading biotech startups,” said Mark Kahn, the Managing Partner of Omnivore.

Omnivore is a venture capital firm based in India, which funds entrepreneurs building the future of agriculture and food systems.

“We are excited to see Ankit and Abhisolving for sustainable and scalable food resources which are traceable and hence easier for mainstream adoption,

“Loopworm, sitting at the cusp of climate-tech and food-tech, has the potential to continue moving up the value chain as its product suite evolves and emerges as a truly scaled player,” said Ashish Jain, Partner at WaterBridge Ventures.

WaterBridge Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm which invests in India or in businesses with a strong India angle. The firm backs entrepreneurs that are solving big problems through tech disruption.

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