Royal Cosun is to strengthen its innovative power by investing more in start-ups. Its first acquisition is GreenProtein B.V., a technology start-up that has developed a process to extract high-added value proteins from green leaves. Cosun will also participate in the Icos Capital Fund III, an international investment fund specialising in start-ups in the biochemical and agrifood sectors and their digitisation.
GreenProtein B.V. of Wageningen, the Netherlands, has developed a process to extract RuBisCo, a high-value added protein, from green leaves such as sugar beet leaves. The protein can be used as a food ingredient.
The company will be positioned as part of Suiker Unie, which will also head the GreenProtein European collaborative project*. “GreenProtein evidently complements our mission of maximising the value of all sugar beet components. It will also help meet the growing demand for vegetable proteins,” according to Paul Mesters, CEO of Suiker Unie.
The cooperative’s participation in Icos Capital Fund (ICF III) will give Cosun access to expertise on relevant developments in the sector and to a large international network of young, innovative start-ups as potential partners in innovative projects. “With the world changing faster than ever before, early access to start-ups is vital for a productive innovation climate,” explains Frank van Noord, Cosun’s new director of innovation. “Participation in ICF III will sharpen our external focus and help us accelerate the time to market of our own projects.”
In addition to Cosun, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) and the Bühler Group of Switzerland have taken part in the fund as strategic investors.
*“This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720728”.