Insects-as-feed startup Beta Hatch raises another $10M as it builds out the 'future of farming' – GeekWire

Insects-as-feed startup Beta Hatch raises another $10M as it builds out the ‘future of farming’ – GeekWire

Insects-as-feed startup Beta Hatch raises another $10M as it builds out the ‘future of farming’ – GeekWire

Beta Hatch founder and CEO Virginia Emery poses in front of a mural at an old Beta Hatch facility near Seattle showing the mealworm life cycle as well as the bucolic farm setting she dreams of creating. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Beta Hatch is raising cash as fast as it’s raising insects.

The farming startup that hatched near Seattle and is now growing in Cashmere, Wash., announced Wednesday that is has closed a new $10 million funding round as it pushes to finalize and expand on a flagship facility in the small city east of Seattle.

Beta Hatch launched in 2015 as the brainchild of PhD entomologist Virginia Emery, who is the company’s CEO, with the intent of creating a more sustainable, protein-rich feed source for livestock, pets and other animals by using mealworms.

The 42,000-square-foot flagship facility in Cashmere will be the largest mealworm producing facility in North America, according to Beta Hatch. It will serve as a hub, producing eggs, while growing sites will be located in close proximity to sources of feedstock and other key points in the supply chain. The company has plans to more grow production more than 10x within the next year.

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Beta Hatch also produces mealworm frass, or manure, as an organic fertilizer and soil amendment for improving soil health and plant growth for a variety of specialty and commodity growers.

“We are proud to be a part of building the future of farming as a member of the Washington agricultural community,” Emery said in a news release. “We are excited for our presence in rural America to grow, as we employ and partner with the people in those communities to feed a growing global population.”

Beta Hatch is prioritizing sustainable energy and zero-waste practices in its operations and the Cashmere facility operates solely on renewably sourced electricity, with all of its heating needs supplied by waste heat from a nearby server farm.

The startup previously raised $9.3 million in December.

The new funding round was led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood, along with existing investors Cavallo Ventures and Innova Memphis.

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