Berlin, the bustling hub of innovation, welcomes yet another promising agtech startup. Tupu, a Berlin-based company founded in 2021, is on a mission to reshape the landscape of food production. They have secured $3.2 million in a seed round, co-led by FoodLabs, known for their support of PoLoPo and MicroHarvest, and Zubi Capital, a recent investor in Kausal, along with participation from Clear Current Capital, FoodHack, IT-Farm, Coast Cap, and prominent industry angels including Roger Hassan and Gil Horsky.
With this fresh injection of capital, Tupu is set to expand its production capabilities. The focus is on supplying major players in the food service and retail sectors. Additionally, Tupu aims to enhance space efficiency and advance its automation technology.
Mushrooms, those earthy delicacies loved by many, possess a unique ability. They can be cultivated virtually anywhere, indoors, and throughout the year. This trait not only makes them immune to supply chain disruptions but also contributes to their remarkable sustainability. Mushrooms are renowned for their nutritional benefits, and remarkably, they outperform vegetables in terms of CO2 emissions, water usage, and land efficiency.
However, the current journey of mushrooms from farm to fork is plagued by inefficiencies and unsustainability. The demand for organic, sustainable, and local products is rapidly rising, driven by increasing health consciousness, the surge in veganism, and a growing appetite for sustainable meat alternatives.
Tupu, founded by Eldad Arnon and Daniel Lock, both experienced managers from giants in the controlled environment farming industry, namely Infarm and Kalera, is dedicated to unleashing the untapped potential within the mushroom kingdom.
Through a fusion of bioscience, robotics, and AI, Tupu is crafting a decentralized farming system tailored for growing fresh, flavorful mushrooms in urban environments. This innovative approach provides consumers with farm-fresh mushrooms, offered to food services, restaurants, and grocery delivery companies. Tupu cultivates a diverse range of organic gourmet mushrooms right within the city, delivering sustainable, farm-fresh produce at a competitive price.
Their first urban farm, operational since November last year, boasts a monthly output of over 3 tonnes, supplied to a diverse clientele that ranges from esteemed local wholesalers to Michelin-starred chefs. Some of Berlin's finest chefs employ Tupu's mushrooms to craft exciting new vegan creations.
Eldad Arnon, co-founder and CEO of Tupu, expressed gratitude for having forward-thinking investors on board who share the vision of mushrooms addressing the pressing challenges of global food insecurity amid the climate crisis. Arnon envisions a future where organic, farm-fresh food is accessible to everyone.
Daniel, co-founder and COO, highlighted that while the vertical farming sector has faced challenges, urban farming will play a pivotal role in the future food system. Mushrooms, cultivated indoors but traditionally inefficiently, are poised to redefine an entire industry.
Till Hoelzer, Principal at FoodLabs, shared his excitement about Tupu's role in making indoor farming economically viable and stressed the importance of controlled environment farming in creating a climate-resilient food supply chain.