TurtleTree Labs raises $3.2 million seed round as it accelerates cell-based milk development

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DUBAI — Singapore-based biotech company TurtleTree Labs Thursday announced the completion of a fresh round of funding from global investors. TurtleTree Labs is the world’s first-cell based biotechnology company creating real milk from mammalian cells, without the need for animals. As a platform, the company’s focus is on high value human breast milk followed by cow milk.

Over the past year TurtleTree Labs has attracted world class talent, currently boasting a team of more than 20 full-time scientists and engineers. With multiple cross-functional teams working in parallel, co-founder and CEO Fengru Lin says, “Our team is hungry, passionate and knows what it takes to accelerate to market. I’m so inspired when even the most junior scientists are sharing ideas of cutting costs or identifying better suppliers.”

With support from the Singaporean government, the startup has been privy to an array of resources that provided TurtleTree Labs with a tremendous financial boost, enabling it to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-founder Max Rye, originally from the San Francisco Bay area explains, “Our teams are firing on all cylinders thanks to Enterprise Singapore and the support from our investors. We remain as focused as ever, and we aim to continue hitting milestones.”

“TurtleTree Labs’ goal of creating milk from animal cells provides a novel solution towards sustainable dairy production globally, and would also help to strengthen Singapore's long-term food diversification efforts.

“We are encouraged that Singapore’s foodtech infrastructure has enabled homegrown startups like TurtleTree Labs to push technological boundaries and obtain quick access to capital.

“We will continue our efforts to develop a vibrant agri-food tech ecosystem in Singapore to encourage the creation of more innovative solutions,” said Ms Bernice Tay, director, food manufacturing division, Enterprise Singapore.

Investors taking part in the TurtleTree Labs seed round are Green Monday Ventures, KBW Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures.

“KBW Ventures has invested in the seed round building on our initial commitment during TurtleTree’s pre-seed raise. We see the founding team commitment and the potential of this company and its technology as a winning combination.

“Now more than ever, people are waking up to the benefits of food technology and the massive positive implications of innovations in cellular agriculture,” said Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed, founder and chief executive officer of KBW Ventures.

“Food tech innovation in Asia is way overdue. If the rapidly deteriorating climate change situation isn’t enough to convince the world, the pandemic surely hammers home the urgency that we need to overhaul the food system for the sake of public health, food safety, and food security.

“That explains why Green Monday Ventures is so excited to invest in and collaborate with TurtleTree Labs. We see immense possibilities in their biotech innovation platform, as well as enormous impact we can drive together,” says David Yeung, founder, Green Monday Group

TurtleTree Labs raised its initial investment which was led by New York-Hong Kong based Lever VC in 2019, with investors from various geographies. “This fresh round of funding will enhance our scale up development, bringing us one step closer to commercialization,” said Max Rye. — SG


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