Insects are natural detritivores and a key part of our ecosystem, yet ignored for their usefulness and considered pests or nuisance. However, they are a rich source of proteins, fats, and micronutrients, and an essential part of the natural diets of both land and aquatic fauna. Additionally, insects are also an excellent source of high-quality amino acids, fatty acids, peptides and bio-molecules like melanin, chitin etc. Bengaluru-based Loopworm strongly believes that with the right use of modern science and engineering, insects can truly help us bring a new dimension to novel biotechnology and bio-pharmaceutical applications.
Co-founded by two IITian batchmates-turned-co-founders, Abhi Gawri and Ankit Alok Bagaria in 2019, Loopworm is an agri-biotechnology startup that takes inspiration from nature to convert organic waste into valuable products promoting health, nourishment and wellbeing for all forms of life. “We stand out in the market as we are working dedicatedly to produce sustainable food and feed for tomorrow, while bringing food waste back into the circular loop of nature,” says Bagaria.
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Basically, Loopworm is optimising multi-species insect farming for smallholders while producing value-added nutrients and ingredients for B2B customers across India and overseas. “After years of hard work and perseverance, we have perfected our core insect farming technology and have done extensive R&D and testing for the same as well as established our product-market fit (PMF) successfully,” says Bagaria. “We have so far launched four commercial (B2B) products, for which we are now looking to scale up production to large-scale B2B levels. And to that end, we are currently setting up our first commercial factory in Bengaluru, termed as ‘Loop Factory’, which shall commence production by early next year.”
Loopworm recently raised $3.4 million in seed funding in its first fundraising round, which was co-led by Omnivore and WaterBridge Ventures.
Talking about the early days, Bagaria says the origin of the idea of Loopworm dates back when the duo had met each other at IIT-Roorkee’s student chapter Enactus. “Both of us instantly connected over our shared interests in social entrepreneurship, specifically in the domain of waste management. Thereafter while in college, we were working on multiple waste management projects together. That’s where we came across the problem that 50% of waste in India is food waste (post-consumer waste).”
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The duo wanted to turn food waste a positive value resource and bring it back into the food chain or the ‘food loop’. That desire eventually shaped their decision to start Loopworm .
“After setting up of our Loop-Factory (currently in process), we would be soon introducing Loop-Meal and Loop-Oil, as protein and fat ingredients in shrimp/poultry/fish feeds and pet foods industries, and supplying these products actively to various B2B feed manufacturers across India,” says Bagaria. In the next one year or so (after the launch of its factory), the company plans to scale it up first to 2,000 tonnes/month production and establish itself as a positive cash flow business. “And we would parallel be working on other value added bio-based products for other markets and applications.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
- Started in 2019 by two IIT Roorkee alumni
- Raised $3.4 million in seed funding in maiden round
- Produces value-added nutrients for B2B feed manufacturers across India
- It will soon introduce Loop-Meal and Loop-Oil, as protein and fat ingredients in animal feed