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Circular economy funding boost: insect technology startup Protenga raises $1.6m


Protenga has closed its latest round of seed investment, raising US$1.6m with UK agritech company Roslin Technologies and the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, SEEDS Capital.

The investment opens the door to circular food system innovations that will provide healthy and sustainable insect protein for the growing aquaculture and pet food markets.

Accordingly, Protenga is now ramping up production of its insect-based products, conducting cutting-edge genetic research, and taking its decentralised Smart Insect Farm model, which transforms agricultural and food waste into valuable products, to waste owners around Asia.

For the environment, the potential of this approach is vast. Our world faces a 60-billion-tonne protein food shortage by 2030, and around one-third of all food is wasted. Currently, livestock, aquaculture and pets are fed mainly with unsustainable fishmeal and cash crops like corn and soy. Insects offer a natural alternative that requires less land, water and food compared to other feed ingredients. Protenga’s unique zero-waste approach also solves the problem of insect frass by transforming larvae excrements into high-quality bio-fertiliser.

In partnership with Roslin Technologies, a world leader in animal genetics & agri-sciences, Protenga is embarking on research to identify genetic insect strains that will further improve bioconversion performance in its Smart Insect Farm systems. The work will be carried out at Roslin Technologies’ soon-to-be-completed bespoke genetic nucleus facility near Edinburgh, Scotland.

To support these activities, Protenga is defying the gloom of the Covid-19 economy and hiring across a number of biology, engineering, operations and R&D roles.

“Production and bioconversion opportunities using the Black Soldier Fly are enormous,” announced Leo Wein, CEO of Protenga. “Working with Roslin Technologies provides the perfect opportunity to expand Protenga’s capabilities and scale up across our key markets. We’re also delighted to receive support and funding from SEEDS Capital — together, we plan to drive transformational change in the global food supply chain.”

Glen Illing, CEO of Roslin Technologies, said: “This investment is the start of our journey into the insect protein and nutrition market. Protenga has the right technologies, capabilities and culture to succeed in providing new sustainable production and waste bioconversion practices using Black Soldier Fly. We are also excited about applying enhanced breeding technologies to develop improved insect lines with Protenga from a new genetic nucleus facility currently being built near Edinburgh. Protenga is at the cutting edge of sustainable protein production and is the next important building block in our portfolio of agritech ventures.”

Geoffrey Yeo, General Manager of Seeds Capital commented “Protenga’s proprietary solutions in black soldier fly production and waste bioconversion enables the company to have a differentiated and scalable business model in the insect protein space, and addresses the growing gap in the demand and supply of animal feed. The investment in Protenga builds on our existing focus in agrifood technologies and further develops the alternative protein ecosystem in Singapore. We are delighted to be supporting Protenga as they continue to grow and expand their operations.”


For more information, contact:

Leo Wein, CEO & Founder

+6591866814 / +6072830066

Career Opportunity

About Protenga

Protenga’s mission is Making Insects Work For You. It realises this aim by democratising protein production through intensive insect farming systems that produce sustainable protein in balance with nature.

Originating from a garage project in Germany, and headquartered in Singapore since 2016, Protenga now runs its operations out of Malaysia. The startup has become a global pioneer in farming the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) to produce sustainable, low-carbon insect protein.

Protenga’s insects are processed into its flagship products (Hermet Protein, Hermet Oil, Hermet FertiFly Frass and the YumGrubs pet food line) using a novel, scalable, insect-based bioconversion process that recaptures nutrients from organic side-streams via proprietary Smart Insect Farm systems.

With this expertise, Protenga has entered a new stage — and gained a vote of confidence — through the completed investment round from Roslin Technologies, SEEDS Capital, KJS Group and private investors. 

Protenga is now actively growing its technology, engineering, science, business and operational teams, and accelerating towards completion of its commercial pilot plant by Q3 of 2020. Developments have been progressing despite COVID-19 restrictions, under strict adherence to standard operating procedures and precautionary measures. For more information, visit

About Roslin Technologies

Roslin Technologies is an innovative agritech venture builder company based in the Midlothian Science Zone, near Edinburgh. The zone is one of the largest animal science innovation hubs in the world. Working closely with the adjacent world-famous Roslin Institute, famous for Dolly the Sheep, Roslin Technologies' focus is the Science of Sustainable Food, specialising in transforming scientific outputs to underpin profitable, sustainable agri businesses with global reach. Launched in 2016 as one of the largest European agritech start-ups, Roslin Technologies is bolstering its key platforms and ventures in 2020 with a range of novel initiatives in protein production and animal health, addressing the global challenge of food supply deficit. For more information, visit:

About SEEDS Capital

As the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, SEEDS Capital catalyses smart investments into innovative Singapore-based startups with strong intellectual content and global market potential. We co-invest with independent investors in innovative startups. We help our startups commercialize and expand globally through leveraging on the expertise and strategic networks of our co-investment partners in areas such as technology translation, commercialization and market expansion. Through co-investments, SEEDS Capital aims to catalyze investments into nascent and strategic sectors. These include Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering, Health & Biomedical Sciences, Urban Solutions & Sustainability, and Services & Digital Economy.

For more information, visit

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