Investments & Finance

Finally Foods Secures Funds for AI-Driven Plant Molecular Tech to Produce Casein for Cheese

Israeli startup Finally Foods Ltd., an AI-driven company focused on revolutionizing the alt-protein sector through plant molecular farming, has secured pre-seed funding from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub (TKH) and the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA). 

Finally Foods utilizes potatoes as “bioreactors,” modifying them with cutting-edge technology to grow sustainable alternatives to animal-based proteins. It will start by producing casein, the key protein to make “cheese that’s gentle on our planet and a joy for the taste buds.”

The new company leverages AI technology developed by the Israeli computational biology company Evogene. This technology enables the rapid discovery and development of biological markers for genetic engineering and other applications. It also promises short R&D cycles and a swift path to market.

Sustainable future

According to the announcement, Evogene owns 40% of the company. The rest is shared between TKH and the founding team, CEO Dafna Gabbay, an experienced entrepreneur, and CTO Dr. Basia J. Vinocur, a specialist in agricultural biotechnology and formerly VP of R&D at Evogene. Meanwhile, the seed Investors will have access to Evogene’s AI technology through a license granted to them.

A close-up a yellow potato.
© Finally Foods

Ofer Haviv, President & CEO of Evogene,  shared, “By harnessing the power of our GeneRator AI tech engine, molecular farming has the potential to revolutionize the food industry and promote healthier diets worldwide.”

Gabbay commented: “Molecular farming represents a catalyst towards global food security and a more sustainable future, and I am proud to lead ‘Finally Foods’ to take an important part towards supporting this crucial vision for the world.”

Biology, AI, and talent

Evogene (Nasdaq: EVGN, TASE: EVGN) uses big data and AI to develop life-science products more efficiently and cost-effectively. It has established three tech engines focused on microbes, small molecules, and genetic elements. 

Based in Rehovot, it has launched five subsidiaries working in the healthcare and agriculture industries. Biomica focuses on microbiome-based therapeutics for human disorders, Lavie Bio develops ag-biologicals, and AgPlenus creates ag chemicals for crop protection. 

Meanwhile, Canonic works on medical cannabis products, and Casterra Ag develops high-yield castor seed varieties for biofuel and other industries. All of these companies are utilizing AI to power their research and advancements.

The Kitchen FoodTech Hub (TKH) is the food tech incubator and investment arm of the food giant Strauss Group. Its portfolio includes companies such as the upcycled Rubisco protein startup Day 8, the cultivated meat firms Aleph Farms and Forsea, and the precision fermentation companies Yeap and Imagindairy

Amir Zaidman, CEO of The Kitchen Hub, said, “Finally Foods is one of the rare cases where we see an extremely strong founding team, in Dafna and Basia, coupled with a proven technology platform based on the leading AI engine of Evogene.”

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