OAKLAND, CALIF. — Food technology startup MeliBio has secured $2.2 million in new funding to scale production of its bee-free honey. The company has raised a total of $9.4 million to date, including $5.7 million in seed funding earlier this year.

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 and was named among Time magazine’s best inventions.

MeliBio is partnering with Narayan Foods to launch bee-free honey under Narayan Foods’ Better Foodie brand in 75,000 stores across Europe early next year. The product performs and tastes like conventional honey, according to the company.

“Growing up and building my early career in one of the world’s leaders in honey production, Serbia, it is with great excitement that I bring our innovative MeliBio plant-based honey to Europe,” said Darko Mandich, chief executive officer and co-founder of MeliBio. “We are proud to partner with Narayan Foods, one of Europe’s most respected sustainable foods producers, to bring our delicious and sustainable products to Europeans everywhere. We are thankful to our investors for recognizing the progress our team has made and for providing the additional capital to scale our company.”

The recent funding round included participation from existing investors Collaborative Fund and Siddhi Capital, as well as new investor The Greenbaum Foundation.

“The conventional honey industry is not sustainable,” said Craig Shapiro, founder of Collaborative Fund, who recently joined MeliBio’s board of directors. “Bee populations have seen steep declines, threatening to damage our broader food and agricultural systems. We were thrilled to meet Darko and the team, who have created a product that is simultaneously healthier, more delicious, and sustainable. We love backing teams creating products that make the right choice, the easy choice.”