In a substantial stride towards greener and more sustainable agriculture, Scottish insect genetics innovator Beta Bugs has secured a remarkable £1.72 million in funding. The funding round, spearheaded by The TRICAPITAL Syndicate LLP and featuring prominent participation from SIS Ventures, Scottish Enterprise, Beeches Group, Climate.vc, and the unwavering support of existing shareholders and InnovateUK, is set to revolutionize the insect farming landscape.
Beta Bugs, founded by Thomas Farrugia in 2017, has pioneered the UK's first comprehensive selective breeding program and egg production facility for the Black Soldier Fly. This humble insect is emerging as a game-changing alternative protein source for aquaculture, pork, and poultry feed. What sets it apart is its capacity to thrive on various waste streams, encompassing agricultural and food waste.
Black Soldier Fly farming embodies a circular, eco-friendly, and locally produced solution to the unsustainable production of soy meal and fishmeal, notorious for driving deforestation, biodiversity loss, and overfishing. Beta Bugs specializes in supplying premium larvae, enabling insect producers to elevate both protein quality and yield for animal feed, thereby challenging the dominance of soy and fishmeal, not only in terms of quality but also price, as they scale up Black Soldier Fly genetic performance.
In a strategic move, Beta Bugs has welcomed Chris Richards as its Non-Executive Chair. Chris is a distinguished figure in the global agribusiness sector, renowned for his expertise in nurturing science-based enterprises into thriving ventures.
Beta Bugs' Founder and CEO, Thomas Farrugia, highlighted the company's growing footprint, stating, "Beta Bugs has supplied its industry-leading products to an increasing number of established and new entrant insect farmers in the UK and international markets. The company continues to develop its outstanding HiPer-Fly® breeding program, which has demonstrated consistent increases in Black Soldier Fly genetic performance across multiple, economically valuable production traits."
The investment in Beta Bugs underscores the rising significance of insect farming as a sustainable and eco-conscious source of protein. The sector's lower environmental footprint positions it at the forefront of sustainable food source development. Scottish Enterprise's Kerry Sharp affirms the company's pivotal role in elevating the agricultural supply chain and contributing to both the economy and the environment.