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How ADM helps other fermentation companies grow and innovate

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120 years ago in 1902, Archer Daniels Midland started a linseed oil business in Minneapolis.

Over the decades, ADM has become a large global company with 41,000 employees and presence in nearly 200 countries. ADM is known for its wide range of agricultural products. In addition, some of ADM’s unique entrants, such as amino acids, sweeteners, enzymes and biofuels, have led the company into the growing fermentation sector.

Due to ADM’s vast fermentation capacity and expertise, the company also works with innovative small companies. Fermentation science has brought so many advances and innovations that the best way for ADM to serve its customers is not always the company working in isolation.

“You can either extend your existing platform or consider investing in or partnering with a partner. [companies] Through our investment, we’ll mostly use it as an extension of our existing platform,” said Pinner. “And we do both. We develop things in-house that we want to keep in-house and make sure we develop in-house, and work with partners to use them as extensions of our science and technology platform. increase.”

ADM and Alternate Protein Partners

Through both capital investments and partnerships, ADM has worked with several food companies that use fermentation to create and perfect alternative protein products. In 2019, ADM invested in animal-free dairy company Perfect Day. This comes nearly a year after partnering to scale and commercialize Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy protein. The company raised a March 2020 funding round for fermented analog maker Nature’s Fynd, a July 2020 funding round for animal-free collagen maker Geltor, and a November 2021 funding round for animal-free cheese maker New Participated in Culture’s Series A funding round.

The company’s venture capital arm, ADM Ventures, was one of the leaders in a funding round for Air Protein, a fermentation-derived carbon dioxide-derived meat analogue, in January 2021, with cultivated meat maker Believer. Co-led Meats (previously known as Future Meat Technologies) on its $347 million series. B round is December 2021.

Ian Pinner's headshot
Ian Pinner

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ADM works with companies involved in all stages of fermentation, Pinner said. They work with companies that are already creating cultures and help them scale. They leverage their expertise to help start-ups make their technology commercially viable. The company is exploring potential formulations using ingredients the company is creating. These will help you develop market development and distribution plans. And they are eyeing fermentation startup efforts that could benefit other ADM customers.

Pinner said it made more sense for ADM to leverage its extensive facilities, reach and expertise to help fermentation-using startups like Perfect Day, New Culture and materials company Spiber do new things. said that it is suitable for ADM could develop some of these new features in-house, but that would be too much work. Especially since it takes a lot of investment and expertise to properly process some of these products created by fermentation.

“You don’t have to build and own all of that landscape, you can focus on what you think is great technology and a great management team and work with them,” says Pinner.

How the ADM partnership works

Through its venture arm, ADM invests heavily in companies developing next-generation fermentation products, but working with startups is much more than an investment. Pinner said ADM can be a scale-up partner or help startups figure out exactly what they need to do next.

“We invest because we think the technology is a winning technology,” says Pinner. “We like the teams we work with in startup businesses—the ventures we talk about. We want to be part of the ADM strategy, and we want them to be part of the ADM strategy.”

ADM is an investor and partner of animal-free dairy companies Perfect Day and New Culture.

ADM began working with Perfect Day before products with Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein hit the market. ADM helped Perfect Day with both scaling up and application development, Pinner said.

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