Food Entrepreneur DURHAM, NC. — Ingredient supplier Elo Life Systems has completed a Series A financing round, raising a total of $24.5 million to scale production of a sustainable, high-intensity sweetener.

Founded in 2021, Elo Life Systems has developed a sweetener inspired by monk fruit that is 300 times sweeter than sugar without the calories or aftertaste associated with other sweeteners, according to the company. The startup taps into existing agricultural systems such as watermelons to produce the ingredient, reducing waste by ensuring all harvested material is used. The company also is creating a fungal-resistant cavendish banana to save the endangered crop from extinction.

The funding will support the development of Elo’s sweetener by advancing US regulatory approvals, building pilot scale processing capabilities and market testing with consumers. The company said it plans to open a Series B funding round later this year to further scale the ingredient and expand its research and development pipeline.

“With strong investor support united behind Elo’s commitment to improve human health and the environment, we’re unlocking nature’s abilities to make consumers’ favorite foods more delicious, healthy and planet-friendly,” said Todd Rands, chief executive officer of Elo Life Systems. “Elo’s first product — a new plant-based sweetener inspired by natural monk fruit — will eliminate excess calories in thousands of everyday food and beverage products that consumers love.”

The funding round was led by existing investors AccelR8, Novo Holdings and DCVC Bio. Joan Braca, a non-executive director with Univar Solutions and former executive at Tate & Lyle, has joined Elo’s board of directors.

“I’m thrilled to join Elo and help further their mission to reimagine the future of food,” Ms. Braca said. “Consumers are demanding healthier, affordable and more sustainable foods. Elo has the power to unlock these benefits and more using the power of nature and plants.” 

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