If there are two things that Israelis pride themselves on, it’s the chickpea and technology. The Israeli startup InnovoPro wants to combine the two for an upgrade to the healthy legume. We don’t just mean adding spices, but rather turning the chickpea into a high-protein food that could eventually replace animal products.
Instead of 20% - 70% protein per chickpea
InnovoPro has become the first company to successfully create a chickpea that contains 70% protein, compared to the 20% protein standard in today’s market. According to the company, the protein is created in a natural process, while conserving energy and water resources. According to InnovoPro, the patent-protected process breaks down the chickpea to its components, producing a concentrated protein powder.
InnovoPro’s chickpea applications don’t stop when served on your plate or in your sandwich. It can be used to replace animal products in a variety of everyday foods, such as ice-cream, mayonnaise, milk, energy bars, cookies, meatballs, hot dogs, and more. The company works with an Israeli, American, and European partnership, and its products are currently already in use in many lactose-free, meat-free, and egg-free products.
The company claims that its ‘super chickpea’ has a neutral taste, which allows the use of it in an array of different dishes, without drastically compromising the flavor. Over the last two years, InnovoPro has launched its protein chickpea in Europe as well as in the U.S.A, even moving its production to North America. In a conversation with Geektime, the company revealed that new products, including a chickpea starch, will be released in 2020.
Raised $15 million on the way to a factory
Not long ago, InnovoPro announced the completion of their Series B funding round totaling $15 million. The round was led by JVP (who invested in their previous fundraising round in 2018), including the FoodTech fund - CPT Capital, among other investors, Swiss retail giant Migros, who had also previously invested in the company. According to InnovoPro, the funds will be primarily used to increase production capabilities, construction of an independent production factory, develop new ventures, strengthen the sales and marketing operation, as well as expanding into new global markets.
According to the company, the funding began before the COVID-19 crisis, however it was only completed at the end of March. “The fear during the crisis was naturally from the uncertainty and the virus’s effect on humanity. Leaving no doubt in investors’ minds regarding the need for this market, especially during the days of COVID-19, and the technological solution which it provides for healthy eating, with high nutritional values processed in a chemical-free way,” InnovoPro claims.
“With every passing year, the demand for plant protein is reaching new highs. We strive to be the global leading producer of inventive chickpea proteins, and in addition, produce natural ingredients that will add value to both consumers and manufacturers for both functional and health industries,’ according to Tali Nechushtan, InnovoPro CEO. Nechushtan claims that the flexible eating crowd, known as Flexitarians, is growing daily, reaching 70% in some European countries. These are people who don’t necessarily want to turn vegan or vegetarian, however, they do want to reduce their consumption of animal products and increase the consumption of plant-based products.
Erel Margalit, Chairman & Founder of JVP, who led the investment, said: “The world requires quality and innovative plant-based protein to replace the milk and meat we know today.”Margalit added: “InnovoPro’s chickpea protein is a revolutionary innovative product that provides leading Foodtech companies an excellent solution for the next wave of plant-based proteins to replace a whole series of animal products.”
InnovoPro was founded in 2013 and currently employs nine employees at their offices in Rishpon, Israel.