Tupu, a Berlin-based AgTech company, has successfully raised $3.2 million in a seed funding round to support its goal of revolutionising food production through its decentralised mushroom farming system.
The round was co-led by FoodLabs and Zubi Capital, alongside Clear Current Capital, FoodHack, IT-Farm, Coast Cap and prominent business angels in the food and tech industry.
Tupu combines its patent-pending modular farming system with bioscience, robotics and AI to grow a diverse range of organic gourmet mushrooms directly in cities. It aims to offer consumers sustainable, farm-fresh products at a competitive price.
The start-up’s first farm was launched in November last year and supplies more than three tons a month to a range of customers from local wholesalers to Michelin-starred chefs.
With the fresh capital, Tupu aims to further scale its production capacity and supply large players in the food service and retail sectors. The team is also working on increasing space efficiency and advancing its automation technology.
Tupu was co-founded in 2021 by Eldad Arnon and Daniel Lock, both of whom brought experience from the controlled environment farming industry (at Infarm and Kalera respectively). Their goal is to ‘unlock the untapped potential hidden in the mushroom kingdom’.
Mushrooms can be grown anywhere, indoors and year-round, making them immune to supply chain disruptions while offering numerous nutritional benefits. They are efficient in water consumption and land usage, but their current journey from fark to fork is unsustainable – mushrooms are transported across distances of up to 7000km, which often results in compromised taste, a shorter shelf life, fewer nutrients and a larger carbon footprint.
There is a growing demand among consumers for organic, sustainable and local products, with mushrooms being used as a key ingredient for many plant-based products including meat alternatives.
In foodservice, Tupu supplies its mushrooms to renowned chefs to craft new vegan dishes – for example, Sebastian Frank, head chef and owner of two-starred Michelin restaurant Horváth, uses Tupu’s King Oyster mushroom for his vegan foie gras.
Co-founder and COO Lock said: “While the vertical farming sector has been challenging recently, in particular for leafy greens and other energy-intensive crops, urban farming will play a key role in our future food system”.
He added: “Unlike plants, mushrooms have always been cultivated indoors, yet in an inefficient manner, and we’re leapfrogging the current state of the industry with our technology by 50 years. Mushrooms offer immense potential across various sectors – food is just the beginning.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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