Bardee raises $5m to transform food waste into insect protein and fertiliser — Bardee
[18 November 2021] Melbourne-based Bardee today announces it has raised $5M of funding to reshape the global food system by transforming food waste into protein and fertiliser with insects. The investment was led by Blackbird Ventures, alongside angel investors including Greta Bradman, Didier Elzinga, founder of Culture Amp and Simon Griffiths, founder of Who Gives A Crap.
After two years in stealth mode, Bardee has opened a 2,500 sqm facility in Melbourne’s northwest growing and harvesting billions Black Soldier Fly, whose larvae can consume a broad range of food waste and convert it into nutrient-rich protein and organic fertiliser. The larvae grow three thousand times in size in a vertical farming system that offsets 50 tonnes of carbon emissions per day.
According to a recent United Nations report , roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption each year, 1.3 billion tons, is wasted. Much of that ends up in landfills, where it breaks down into methane, a greenhouse gas thirty times more potent than CO2. Bardee prevents food waste from turning into methane and recycles the nutrients back into the food system.
Shopping centres, supermarkets and local food manufacturing businesses use Bardee to process their food waste. The Black Soldier Fly larvae used to process the waste are considered a non-pests species and are not at risk of damaging crops or disturbing livestock.
Today, Bardee’s technology can recover 90% of the nutrients discarded in food waste ten times faster than commercial composting. The insect manure in the fertiliser means only half the fertiliser is required on organic crops, making the switch to organic more economically viable for farmers.
The larvae produce hundreds of times more protein per square meter than traditional animal feed sources. Bardee’s protein is being launched in new carbon positive pet foods such as , livestock feed and aquafeeds, making it possible for people and their pets to eat healthily for the planet.
Blackbird General Partner Nick Crocker said: “Phoebe and Alex are founders who embody what it means to do your life’s work. As a CEO, Phoebe is an inspiration to our whole team for the way she lives her values, and the way she expresses them through Bardee. Their first facility is a true marvel of biology, and engineering, and when there are thousands of Bardee facilities worldwide, not only will we transform the way society processes waste, but the way we deliver protein to animals, and humans alike.”