Vietnam-based food alternative provider Cricket One has raised an undisclosed sum led by early-stage investors 500 Startups and Singapore-based Masik Enterprises while Thailand-based online car rental marketplace, Drivehub, announced that it is looking to expand its car rental service into other Southeast Asia markets.
500 Startups, Masik Enterprises invest in Vietnamese cricket protein startup
Vietnam-based food alternative provider Cricket One has raised an undisclosed sum led by early-stage investors 500 Startups and Singapore-based Masik Enterprises.
The seed funding will be used for further R&D and study of the cricket protein structure, Cricket One said in a statement.
Founded in 2017, the company claims it is managing over 25 million crickets per month, with the flagship Cricket One product containing about 60-70 per cent protein and 7 per cent fiber cricket powder, being sold to bakeries and chip makers in Europe and the US.
New products, such as sausage and mayonnaise made of cricket protein and oil, and protein beverages out of soluble cricket powder are currently in trials in Vietnam, Russia and Korea. Meanwhile, crickets can also provide ingredients for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, the company said.
East and Southeast Asian countries take up over 90 per cent of global insect consumption, according to Cricket One, adding that cricket is a more environmentally friendly source of protein than beef or chicken.
“In fact, with each hectare able to produce over 250 tonnes of pure protein per year, it is almost 50 times more productive than growing soy beans,” Masik Enterprises director Mikhail Zeldovich said.
Masik Enterprises invests in early-stage technology companies in Asia, in food and agriculture (Cricket One, Agratek, Agrodrones), sustainability and green tech (SensorFlow), fintech (ARD Financial, Lendela), and cybersecurity (Oceanshield, Autovisor).
Alternative protein is an emerging sector in Asia, yet with significant funding. Singapore-based Sustenir Agriculture bagged a $16-million investment from backers including Singapore state investor Temasek and Australia’s Grok Ventures, according to Reuters, while Shiok Meats, also from the island state, raised $4.6 million earlier this year. Overseas companies, such as listed Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger and JUST Inc, are either backed by Asian investors or expanding into this region.
Thai Drivehub to expand car rental service
After raising $1 million from KK Fund and a group of angels, Thailand-based online car rental marketplace, Drivehub, announced that it is looking to expand its car rental service into other Southeast Asia markets.
Drivehub is a B2C car rental marketplace and fleet management platform that can accept both low risk accredited and high-risk unaccredited car rental user segments.
The company claims that is the first car rental marketplace to integrate and combine nationwide and local car rental providers into a single platform.
The company, which launched its car rental platform in 2017, has expanded its presence across 33 locations over Thailand by connecting thousands of rental vehicle from nationwide (such as Hertz, National, Sixt) and local car rental providers with potential renters.
Drivehub is also eyeing regional expansion and aiming to penetrate into other mobility sectors. KK Fund is a Singapore-based venture capital fund investing in seed stage internet & mobile startups in Southeast Asia, Taiwan & Hong Kong.