Israeli chickpea protein startup InnovoPro pulls in new investment

Ingredion, a multinational producer of starch products, glucose syrup and high fructose syrup, backs maker of chickpea protein concentrate

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Tech Israel editor and reporter.

Various spreads made with Israeli food tech startup InnovoPro's chickpea protein product. (InnovoPro)
Various spreads made with Israeli food tech startup InnovoPro's chickpea protein product. (InnovoPro)

Israeli food tech startup InnovoPro has raised a new equity investment led by US ingredient giant Ingredion, a multinational producer of starch products and glucose syrup and high fructose syrup, the company announced Wednesday.

The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Founded in 2015, InnovoPro is targeting an over $40 billion market that is seeking new kinds of protein ingredients to be used in alternative and more sustainable protein-rich products.

While chickpeas naturally contain some 20% protein, InnovoPro said its product is a 70% chickpea protein concentrate — a plant-based protein that can be used in a wide range of vegan products like puddings, meat alternatives, ice cream, high-protein chickpea-based snacks and vegan mayonnaise, to improve their protein content. The startup says its plant-based protein has not been genetically modified, is free of phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived estrogens, has no aftertaste and does not cause allergies.

Various products based on InnovoPro’s chickpea protein have already been launched in the US, Europe and Israel.

Ingredion’s plant-based protein platform head, Michael Natale, said in a statement that the multinational believes the investment “will unlock huge consumer appeal for chickpea protein concentrates.”

Meringue dessert made with Israeli food tech startup InnovoPro’s chickpea protein product. (InnovoPro)

“InnovoPro has a strong portfolio of chickpea solutions and we are excited about the potential for the new applications that this will enable for our customers by capitalizing on the trends shaping the food industry,” said Natale.

With headquarters in Chicago, Ingredion works in dozens of countries and employs approximately 12,000 people across the world. Last year, the company said it had annual net sales of nearly $7 billion.

InnovoPro CEO Taly Nechushtan said the company was “looking forward to this great partnership.”

“In the years ahead, we intend to significantly increase our growth trajectory as we are transforming to a platform of chickpea ingredients. Based on our unique chickpea protein, we now offer a variety of solutions that allow us to expand from dairy alternatives to additional markets, such as meat analogs, egg replacers and more, to inspire consumers with healthier and tastier solutions,” she said.

Food tech company InnovoPro’s chickpea-based proteins can be used as dairy alternatives. (Courtesy)

Over the past few years, InnovoPro has received a number of awards such as “Most Innovative Protein of the Year” at the Protein Summit in 2018, and “Most Innovative Startup in Israeli Food-Tech” in 2018. In 2019, InnovoPro was awarded the “Seal of Excellence” by the European Commission and was chosen to be a member in the EIT Food rising stars community.

InnovoPro last raised $15 million in April 2020 in a B round funding round led by Israeli VC firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.

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