Phytolon closes $14.5 million Series A funding round

Portfolio company Phytolon, a developer of fermentation-based natural food colors, announced it has secured $14.5 million in funding, led by DSM Venturing, to further progress its technology towards commercialization, with participation from Cibus Fund, Ginkgo Bioworks (in-kind investment in the form of Foundry services) and The Trendlines Agrifood Fund. Participation in this Series A also includes some of Phytolon’s current shareholders: The Trendlines Group (the largest shareholder in the company), Arkin Holdings, Millennium Foodtech, Agriline (administered by Consensus Business Group), Stern Tech, and OpenValley/Yossi Ackerman.

Phytolon’s proprietary technology is based on licensed technology from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) and addresses the need for healthy, efficient, and sustainable natural food-coloring alternatives to azo/synthetic dyes used in food and beverages.

Current natural food colors are agriculture-dependent and mostly derived from fruit and vegetables. Phytolon leverages a novel technology to produce betalain pigments by fermentation of baker’s yeast. Phytolon offers a wide range of natural colors from yellow to purple, at competitive coloring performance and cost-in-use, for multiple food categories like alternative meat, dairy, frozen products, baked goods, confectionery, and snacks.

Halim Jubran, PhD, CEO, (at left) with Phytolon CTO, Tal Zeltzer.

Phytolon’s technology has already reached a semi-industrial production scale and the company has prepared the ground for regulatory clearances in the USA and Europe.

The investments of DSM Venturing, Cibus Fund, and Ginkgo Bioworks open the door for broad penetration of our products in the global food industry.  We are excited to have new investors who share our vision to create healthy, efficient, and sustainable food systems via biotechnology.

Dr. Halim Jubran, Co-founder and CEO of Phytolon

Phytolon’s Board of Directors is chaired by Steve Dubin, who played a pivotal role in directing Phytolon through this financing round.  Mr. Dubin has worked with several biotechnology/nutrition companies including as CEO of Martek Biosciences (acquired by DSM in 2011), as Chairman of Enzymotec, and as Senior Advisor to DSM (until 2012). Commenting on the transaction, Mr. Dubin added:

I believe this investment round and DSM’s participation in Phytolon will accelerate the commercialization of Phytolon’s proprietary palette of sustainable food colors that will provide important benefits to both food producers and consumers.