Mealworm farming company Beta Hatch raises $10M

Last time I was in Hong Kong, a startup gave me a jar of mealworms as a snack. They were crunchy and a bit odd looking (as one might expect from a jar full of baked larvae). They really didn’t offer much in the way of flavor, though, so maybe supply your own seasoning.

For all sorts of sustainability reasons, there’s been a good deal of interest in these sorts of alternative protein sources — for humans and otherwise. Beta Hatch’s farming efforts are squarely focused on the latter, citing livestock and pets as primary targets for a farming process it says is “virtually zero-waste.”

Today the St. Louis-based firm announced $10 million in funding in a round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood, with participation from Cavallo Ventures and Innova Memphis, which are both signed on as existing investors. The money comes as Beta Hatch is eyeing the expansion of its flagship farm in Cashmere, Washington.

“We are proud to be a part of building the future of farming as a member of the Washington agricultural community,” founder and CEO Virginia Emery said in a release. “We are excited for our presence in rural America to grow, as we employ and partner with the people in those communities to feed a growing global population.”

The company says the new facility will be the largest of its kind in North America, helping to push Beta Hatch to 10x its current output over the next year. The location is currently powered by renewably sourced energy.

Mealworms have proven intriguing as food sources for food sources, as evidenced by Ÿnsect’s $125 million raise way back in 2019.