The Hustle

Why are VCs paying $300m+ for an insect farm?

Everything’s coming up beetles.

October 7, 2020

There’s no way to put this delicately: Tech investors are bugging out over a giant warehouse full of beetle larvae in Amiens, France.

Ÿnsect — the most expensive insect farm in the world — has raised a whopping $372m, and it isn’t even set to launch until 2022.

All those millions are going toward the unsexy business of churning tiny beetles into cheap protein.

There’s a short-term goal, then a long-term one

Most immediately: Ÿnsect wants to feed all those beetles to fish.

Almost 50% of the fish humans eat comes from fish farms, but the dinner we usually serve those fish (anchovies) is expensive to catch. Beetles aren’t just cheaper: There’s some evidence that beetle larvae helps fish grow more quickly.

But big picture, Ÿnsect is trying to expand its beetle protein first into pet food — and then, slowly, into our food.

Ÿnsect already landed $105m in contracts

Ÿnsect is betting that insects might become the environmentally friendly protein of the future.

Once the farm opens its doors, its beetle protein will be headed straight to fish feed behemoth Skretting, winemaker Torres, and plant fertilizer Compo Group.

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