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ONGC, French VC firm Seventure Partners invest in biotech startup String Bio
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Biotechnology company String Bio Pvt. Ltd. has raised an undisclosed sum of money from a clutch of investors including state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and French venture capital firm Seventure Partners.

String Bio manufactures and provides feed and food ingredients produced through biotechnology-based solutions. Earlier this month, VCCircle exclusively reported that Seventure had invested in the Bengaluru-based startup.

Other participants in the funding exercise included Ankur Capital, Karnataka’s Information and Biotechnology Venture Fund and Srinivasa Hatcheries, a poultry firm. Impact investor Unitus Capital acted as the exclusive financial adviser to String Bio.

The startup said it will use the funding to develop next-generation alternative proteins for global feed and food companies. String Bio co-founder and managing director Vinod Kumar said the capital would also help the company with its commercial rollout.

Separately, Seventure Partners chief executive officer and managing partner Isabelle de Cremoux said String Bio’s approach to supplying feed ingredients was a disruptive one, and that it would help address the global need for alternative and sustainable protein sources. 

String Bio was founded by Kumar and Ezhil Subbian in 2012. An alumnus of Oregon Health and Science University, Subbian has a decade-long experience in the biotechnology industry. Kumar is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley and had earlier worked with organisations such as Juniper Networks and Alcatel-Lucent.

The startup uses its proprietary platform, SIMP (String Integrated Methane Platform), to produce its feed products. The solution leverages naturally-produced methane to create value-added products that have applications in multiple industries like animal nutrition, agriculture, cosmetics and human nutrition.

Investors

Seventure is a subsidiary of Natixis Investment Managers, which is among the world’s largest asset management companies. Listed on the Paris Stock Exchange, Natixis is the corporate finance and financial services arm of Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France.

The VC firm looks to invest in innovative businesses with high growth potential in two fields: the life sciences sector across Europe, Israel, Asia and North America, and digital technologies in France and Northern Europe.

Ankur Capital is an early-stage VC firm and impact investor. It invests mainly in food and agri-tech as well as health-tech startups. It has invested in companies such as breast cancer screening startup Niramai Health Analytix Pvt. Ltd, medical herbs supplier Carmel Organics Pvt. Ltd, and agri-tech venture Agricxlab.

KITVEN was set up in 1999. Its portfolio includes companies such as AptEner Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd, which makes a battery-operated air-cooler for two-wheeler riders, and Open Appliances Pvt Ltd, a startup which makes smart locks for firms.

Deals in the biotech segment

String Bio joins a handful of startups in India that operate in the nascent biotechnology segment and have raised venture capital in the recent past.

Bengaluru-based Pandorum Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which designs and makes human liver tissues using 3D printing technology, raised its Series A round of funding from venture capital funds 021 Capital and 500 Startups in January 2018.

Mynvax Pvt Ltd, which offers next-generation vaccines for influenza, had raised its angel round of funding from a clutch of individuals in October last year.

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