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Maia Farms Secures $1.7m Pre-Seed Funding to Propel Mycelium-Based Biomass Fermentation

Maia Farms, the recent recipient of the Canadian grand prize in the Deep Space Food Challenge alongside partner Ecoation, has made significant strides in its fungi-based biomass fermentation venture. With CAD2.3 million ($1.7 million) in pre-seed financing garnered from a combination of private capital and grant funding, the Vancouver-based company is poised to revolutionize the burgeoning mycoprotein space.

Led by Joyful Ventures, PIC Group, and Koan Capital, with additional support from angel investors within the Creative Destruction Lab, Maia Farms has also secured grant funding from prominent organizations such as the Canadian Food Innovation Network, the National Research Council of Canada, The SFU BC Centre for Agritech Innovation, MITACS, and the Canadian Space Agency.

The infusion of capital will fuel the expansion of Maia Farms' production platform, boasting an edge over competitors in mycoprotein production with its ability to deliver substantially higher yields. Gavin Schneider, Co-founder and CEO, emphasized the allocation of funds towards several key areas, including market expansion across North America, fermentation scale-up, core research and development, and talent acquisition and training.

Innovating Beyond Conventional Strains

Distinguishing itself from industry counterparts, Maia Farms leverages mycelium derived from edible mushroom varieties, circumventing regulatory hurdles associated with novel ingredients. Schneider emphasized the superior yield potential of their approach compared to traditional mold-type strains, while also highlighting the utilization of agricultural byproducts as feedstocks, a testament to their commitment to sustainability.

The resulting ingredient, boasting a neutral taste profile and impressive nutritional composition, presents a versatile solution for a myriad of applications, ranging from meat alternatives to baked goods and children's nutrition. Currently marketed as CanPro, a blended product combining mycelium and plant-based protein, Maia Farms envisions a future where mycelium stands alone as a pure product, catering to diverse consumer preferences.

Jennifer Stojkovic, General Partner and Co-founder of Joyful Ventures, expressed confidence in Maia Farms' trajectory, citing the team's innovation and agility in product development as key factors driving investment. With Canada poised to lead the mycelium space, Stojkovic underscored the significance of Maia Farms' contributions to the agricultural sector.

Maia Farms has embarked on a pilot phase with two Contract Development Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) facilities, testing a liquid fermentation process to grow mycelium. The project, funded in part by the National Research Council of Canada under the Sustainable Protein Program, represents a critical step towards achieving industry-wide adoption.

Schneider emphasized the importance of maximizing yields to justify capital-intensive infrastructure investments, underscoring Maia Farms' commitment to driving sustainable innovation in the mycoprotein landscape. As the company continues to advance its pioneering research, the future of mycelium-based biomaterials appears brighter than ever before.

[Image credits: Maia Farms]


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