SAN FRANCISCO — Food technology startup MeliBio, Inc. has raised $5.7 million in seed funding to scale production of its bee-free honey.  

Founded in 2020, MeliBio has developed proprietary technology combining precision fermentation and plant science to make honey that is molecularly identical to traditional honey. Its first product, a plant-based honey ingredient for food, beverage and cosmetic companies, debuted last year. MeliBio plans to expand manufacturing, add more customers and launch its first line of commercial products.

“At MeliBio, we are here to introduce certainty in the supply chain and help companies simplify their honey sourcing, while making their honey-based formulations sustainable and delicious,” said Darko Mandich, chief executive officer and co-founder. “Together with our clients, we can make the future of honey better, for both humans and for bees.”

MeliBio has raised a total of $7.2 million to date. The recent round was led by Astanor Ventures, with participation from existing investors Big Idea Ventures and 18 Ventures, and new investors Skyview Capital, XRC Labs, Collaborative Fund, Midnight Venture Partners, Alumni Ventures, Siddhi Capital, Climate Capital Collective, Red Bridge Ventures, VegCapital, HackVentures and angel investors from Vevolution and GlassWall Syndicate groups.

“We were glad to be the first investors into MeliBio in 2020,” said Andrew D. Ive, managing general partner at Big Idea Ventures. “We have seen the MeliBio founders deliver on their big idea of sustainable honey, transitioning from concept to full-scale production and underscoring our confidence in this great team. Their success is built on strong IP in precision fermentation and a relentless dedication to growing sustainable honey, while positively impacting pollinator diversity. We are very excited to reinvest and build our partnership in this incredible team as they accelerate the distribution of MeliBio Honey across the United States and globally.”