Crouching Tiger, Hidden Kiwi: Miruku dairy leaves stealth

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Kiwi: Miruku dairy leaves stealth

Mar 24, 2022 3 min read
  • Claiming the title of APAC’s first ‘molecular farming dairy startup,’ New Zealand’s Miruku announces the close of its seed round amid an increasingly crowded field for leadership in alternative dairy, not to mention alternative proteins, getting even hotter
  • Miruku aims to grow its network through R&D, corporate and boots-on-the-ground agricultural partnerships for what it says is a unique and proprietary molecular farming platform built for any geography
  • Fellow Kiwis, including VC Movac invested alongside the APAC-focused Better Bite Ventures, Colorado-based Ahimsa Foundation and, another down under, the Aspire fund of NZ Growth Capital Partners

Emerging from stealth, New Zealand’s Miruku has confirmed it’s a startup to watch in alternative dairy products, having secured backing from fellow Kiwis, Movac and NZ Growth Capital Partners, which happen to be two of the country's leading tech investors. The Miruku consumer product line is currently under development with animal-free proteins that promise to boost emission savings as the whole plant-based foods startup ecosystem. But Miruku says its unique and proprietary molecular farming platform is specifically designed with scale and implementation in mind across multiple geographies.

Miruku’s plant science applications ‘recruit’ what it calls the ‘mini-factories’ of plant cells to produce proteins, fats and sugars of the quality that until now could only be sourced from traditional animal products. Miruku joins the portfolios of the lead investor, Movac that bills itself as New Zealand's most experienced and localised technology investor. APAC-focused Better Bite Ventures and Colorado-based Ahimsa Foundation also participated in the round alongside another fellow Kiwi NZ Growth Capital Partners which manages two early-stage funds in VC.

(Bad puns, poor taste, all in good fun)

Conviction’s in-depth research can reveal from a deep-dive into the press release that (jokes aside) Miruku already has a base in one of the global hubs for food and agtech innovation, Tel Aviv and in addition to these findings via Google search (PS perhaps not quite) our analytics can confirm that stealth to 'surprise!' doesn’t buy you much traction but a feature by Christine Hall at TechCrunch definitely does and is, in a matter of fact, probably priceless. Stealth to launch? Nailed with Conviction (last one, worst one.)

Back to plant science, Miruku aims to develop the means to produce product-equivalents of traditional dairy products like cheese and yoghurt without the downsides, using technologies the startup hopes will fix current issues with commercial viability for getting solutions to market at scale. Founded only two years ago, Miruku positions itself at the intersection of food, biotech and agtech in an emerging space with purpose-driven startups and impact-led investors that have sustainability at the heart.

Despite only just emerging from stealth, Miruku boasts a deep bench of talent led by Amos Palfreyman, Co-Founder & CEO and former dairy industry executive, the technology and life science investor Ira Bing, and a leading expert in milk protein tech Professor Harjinder Singh.

Image credit: Miruku

Amos Palfreyman, CEO of Miruku:

"We share a vision that applies the sharp edge of applied science to agronomy and food tech, at scale, with global partners. Our goal is to provide nutritious and functional animal-free dairy, economically. The Miruku team is amped to have been joined by a special set of local and international institutional foodtech investors backing our vision of delicious and ecologically sustainable food production."

Professor Oded Shoseyov:

"Miruku's breakthrough plant technologies hold potential to produce animal-free milk proteins cost-effectively. Plants lie at the bottom of the food chain. Miruku cuts out the middlemen, livestock and plants as feedstock we rely on for proteins. Instead Miruku produces its proteins directly in the plants themselves. This efficiency is better for soil, water and the atmosphere."

Mark Stuart, Partner at Movac:

"Miruku has a world-class team with standout capability across agronomy, food technology, molecular biology, and computational botany. In addition to unique capabilities in protein innovation and plant biotechnology, the company is forming remarkable big corporate and research partnerships that reinforce its model for scale and impact. Miruku is doing this through collaboration with exceptional innovators in dairy science in both Israel and New Zealand."

Michal Klar, Better Bite Ventures:

"Miruku's founding team has the powerful mix of scientific expertise and entrepreneurial drive. I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact the Miruku technology will have on our food system."


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