Cow-free but cheesy: Microbial casein startup Standing Ovation raises $12 million


In France, animal-free dairy protein startup Standing Ovation has closed a an oversubscribed €12 million (US$12 million) Series A financing round, with participation from several leading foodtech VCs. 

The company will use the cash to accelerate development and scaleup of animal-free casein and cheese substitutes as well as begin the regulatory approval process. 

The round was led by Astanor Ventures, with the participation from Peakbridge, Seventure Partners, Big Idea Ventures, Good Startup, and an undisclosed “leading player” in the food industry. 

“Global protein demand, and animal protein in particular, is increasing dramatically with a rapidly growing global population and global diets shifting towards animal‐based products,” Standing Ovation says in a press statement. “Yet livestock farming today represents 15% of greenhouse gas emissions and intensive livestock farming is considered unethical by a growing number of people.”

Standing Ovation’s ambition is to contribute to the agrifood transition by developing animal and lactose‐free substitutes for cheese and dairy products, using dairy proteins produced by microbial

fermentation. The company says its process manufactures caseins, which comprise of 80% of the proteins, as well as the proteins that allow milk to curdle and give cheese its functional melting and stretching characteristics.