ISRAELI agritech startup Simpliigood has launched Simpliigood Asia, its joint venture with Sechel Asia, an advisory and operating company in Singapore that partners startups and helps them penetrate and scale in the Asia-Pacific region.
Simpliigood has been producing plant-based protein source called spirulina in Israel. Baruch Dach, chief technology officer of Simpliigood Asia, said that spirulina is more sustainable than other plant-based proteins because it uses less land, can grow in non-potable water and non-arable soil.
Simpliigood Asia's website for online business was launched on Monday, specialising in the sale of spirulina and spirulina-based products in Singapore.
Said Mr Dach: "We don't need to produce more food, we need to be more efficient in food production...and this is where spirulina comes in."
The firm aims to set up base in Singapore through a fully automated manufacturing facility as part of its expansion efforts into the region through gaining market access and eventually establishing production processes in the region.
Lior Shalev, chief executive officer of Simpliigood, said: "We need to start from the first step, and the first step is to build a demand in Singapore...Singapore is an entry point into all of Asia, whether it is in a retail or ingredient type of produce."
Mr Dach mentioned that the startup is working on three aspects: moving spirulina away from the supplement markets and make it a part of the mainstream food industry, replacing staple and traditional protein sources and also tackling malnutrition.
The biggest challenge in producing commercial spirulina is in ensuring batch-to-batch consistency when producing on a large scale.
"This gap is multi-technological, it's technological, marketing...it is a very complex challenge. But we think we are in the right way to solve this," said Mr Dach.
The startup, which has had no external investor in the last seven years other than Mr Shalev, Mr Dach and now Sechel Asia, is targeting to raise US$5 million in a funding round that will be announced at a later date. Funds will be used to support the building of a new production plant, improve research and development initiatives and upscale their marketing.
Mr Shalev added: "We see the same trend (movement towards non-meat alternatives) emerging in Singapore and the rest of the region as rising affluence means that consumers have more choices, are becoming more conscious of what they eat and adopting healthier plant-based foods in their diet."
Simpliigood currently operates in the US, Israel and five markets in Europe. It is now beginning its expansion into Asia through Singapore.