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Insects as a basis for feed, food & raw materials | Business idea along the value chain

Background of the project: Added value with insects

According to the UN, around 10 billion people will be living on earth in 2050. Human nutrition and ecological issues will become a global challenge. Sustainable feed and food as well as raw materials that can be produced in an economically efficient and environmentally friendly way are moving into focus – nutrient-rich insects are an important part of the solution. The aim of the new startup project is to identify exciting business ideas along the value chain of breeding, fattening, processing and distribution, to validate them on the market and to develop a viable business model for a startup.

Feed and food from insects

Insects are currently – both in Germany and internationally – extremely expensive raw materials in the feed and food sector. Therefore, the production of feed and food from insects for a broad market is not yet possible or economically reasonable. On the other hand, insects are already being bred on a (semi-)industrial scale in Europe and processed into animal feed (e.g. for aquaculture and poultry farming).

Raw material chitin – by-product in production

Chitin is a biopolymer and provides insects with the softness and flexibility of armour and wings. Chitin can be obtained as a by-product from mealworms, for example. In combination with other raw materials, it can become increasingly important for industrial use in textile and medical technology, for example, and thus become important as an isolate.

Identify, validate and financially evaluate business ideas

In 10 weeks of Business Design, interesting business models along the entire value chain have to be identified, validated on the market and financially evaluated. Answering the following questions is an important part of the objective: How can the largely manual breeding and processing of insects be meaningfully automated or industrialized? How can insects be bred to high quality standards with low production costs and what are the parameters feed, climate parameters and degree of automation? How high are EBIT (Earnings before Interests and Taxes) and ROI (Return on Investment)? What are the investment requirements in buildings, infrastructure and plant technology? What are the current legal framework conditions and what funding programmes are available at national and European level?

Wanted: Innovators with a drive for sustainability

We are looking for innovators with a founding spirit and a passion for production techniques, entomological and nutritional issues and sustainable business. Together with other talents, you will work on the question of how to sensibly automate or industrialize the largely manual breeding and processing of insects. In 10 weeks of Business Design you will identify business ideas and develop and validate a business model with a financial plan in a team and with coaching. You will pass through the phases “Discover”, “Design” and “Validate”. If the business model and the business plan are convincing in the final pitch, a startup is founded.

The Tech Startup School follows an interdisciplinary approach when putting together the start-up team. We are looking for people interested in founding a company with know-how in insect breeding, industrial plant and production technology, food and biochemistry, agronomy, legal frameworks, business administration, marketing and sales and other fields.

Idea giving company: NXG Protein GbR

NXG Protein, based in Albstadt, is itself a startup in the field of “insects”. Four of NXG’s shareholders are also members of the Startup Angels Alb-Bodensee (SAAB) and managing directors of established companies. With a test farm, NXG has already gained important insights into the production and distribution of insects as animal feed, food components and as a source of raw materials for isolates. This is associated with initial experience in the optimisation and (partial) automation of breeding, fattening and processing processes. Through the agile business design process of the Tech Startup School and an interdisciplinary team, a new, innovative startup is now to be created.

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