TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – Animal-free milk protein developer Imagindairy, Ltd. said it achieved $28 million total in investment capital, upon securing an additional $15 million in its recently completed extended seed round.

The food tech startup first brought in $13 million during its initial round this past November. Target Global led the funding, joining Imagindairy’s existing investors: Strauss Group, Emerald Technology Ventures, Green Circle Foodtech Ventures, Collaborative Fund, New Climate Ventures and FoodSparks by PeakBridge.

Funds from the seed round will go toward accelerating Imagindairy’s research and development efforts to launch animal-free dairy products, as well as hiring new employees.

“This extremely successful seed round reflects a strong vote of confidence in Imagindairy and its vision to lead the animal-free dairy industry,” said Eyal Afergan, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer. “This substantial injection of capital will serve to advance our ability to make true dairy alternative products a day-to-day reality.”

The startup’s mission is to provide consumers with sustainable dairy solutions. The team at Imagindairy creates animal-free milk proteins from microorganisms via proprietary precision fermentation technology. Through that process, the developers can produce dairy analogs in categories such as milk and cheese, without involving animals, thereby reducing the product’s environmental impact.

The Israel-based company’s research led to a proprietary platform it said amplifies protein expression, making it cost-effective to produce animal-free milk proteins and sell products at affordable prices. The dairy proteins are non-GMO and cholesterol-free. The company said the proteins have the same flavor, texture, functionality and nutritional value of dairy products produced with cow’s milk.

Imagindairy seeks to partner with dairy food producers seeking to diversify their product portfolios.

“We are excited to be able to back the Imagindairy team who have made incredible inroads in creating dairy products that don't rely on industrialized animal agriculture but offer the same level of functionality and nutrition,” said Shmuel Chafets, executive chairman and founder at Target Global. “It is becoming increasingly clear that, given the climate crisis and growing shortage of food, our dietary patterns and habits must change. Animal-free dairy has the potential to become one of the most environmentally impactful industries on the planet. We are strong believers that the Imagindairy team’s vast experience in manufacturing at scale, paired with the cutting-edge technology they have built, will be transformational for this space."

Jonathan Berger, chief executive officer of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, called Imagindairy “an ambitious and creative” company.

“Imagindairy’s technology has the potential to be a pivotal catalyst for radically advancing the field of precision fermentation, making animal-free dairy products accessible and readily available to all,” Mr. Berger said.

Dr. Afergan co-founded the company with Tamir Tuller, PhD, and Arie Abo, PhD. Imagindairy is the result of 15 years of research in evolutionary genomics for the advancement of high-yield protein expression and production.