Animal husbandry is an industry older than written language, thought to have spontaneously occurred an estimated 12,000 years ago. But breeding for productive performance did not happen in the traditional sense until the 1800s. Taking animals off of grazed land meant that farmers had to augment livestock nutrition to ensure they could still function the way people needed them.
Globally, 80% of all agricultural land is used to support livestock production, and 26% of the Earth’s ice-free terrestrial surface is used for grazing. Agriculture itself is undergoing a much larger evolution to fight resource depletion and keep our land productive after 2050. With a growing population demanding fresh, healthy, and affordable food, the livestock industry is making many incredible advances to try and combat resource scarcity.
Founded by Dr. Randhir S Gajraj and Mr. Kranti Vij, BioEnttri is an innovative and cutting-edge biotech venture, with Dr. Aanchal Vij (Director, Marketing and Communications) and Mike Clarke (Direction of Communication overseeing the EU Market).
Dr. Randhir Gajraj, based in India, is the Technical Head and Managing Director at Sabran Bioenttri. He is a scientist with over 3 decades of experience in the field of algae and related research & development since 1989. Dr. Randhir has worked on many government and private projects in India and set up algal factories for many applications for food, feed, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, and has experience in harvesting and processing Algae. He has published widely in the field — several scientific reports and research papers, 5 articles — and filed 6 patents and half a dozen trademarks in the algal and allied biotechnology.
Bioenttri proved their product works at the grassroots level associated with the suppliers and channel partners of the largest milk producer in India, Amul (and associate dairy brands) — a federation composed of 3.6 million milk producers in Gujarat and Maharashtra state/s, for over 65 years. The trademarked algal feed and essential probiotic-based supplement/s (CATTLACT and the MIDA) were able to increase milk yields by 15 – 25% in the first week itself. They have maintained that output over the course of the algal feed supplement dosage/s. Now they are ready to expand into the North American market with the trademarks Green Fodder Forever (GF2) and the RUMINUTRA.
Amul and the White Revolution
India is now responsible for one-fifth of global milk production, but it wasn’t always this way. In 1965 India established its National Dairy Development Board, and in 1998 India surpassed the USA to become the world’s largest milk producer. Since 2000, India has doubled its milk production, and much of that was thanks to Amul.
Amul followed a program similar to one run by the National Dairy Development Board in the 70s to help households with 2 or fewer milking animals double their production. Encouraging those with resources to earn a larger disposable income through milk production meant Amul’s growth was tied to a range of towns and cities across their province, directly impacting rural and urban communities. In 2021, the company was collecting 3.3 million litres of milk from 2.12 million farmers across India. All these farmers are paid upon collection or delivery, meaning they have control over funds’ accuracy and see immediate returns.
How does BioEnttri’s innovative product augment livestock feed? The microalgae macro venture offers an alternative to conventional fodder, utilizing rapid CO2 sequestration to provide bio-nutrients and sustainable ingredients that increase milk yield. This makes the animal feed both more sustainable and more nutritious. Best of all, results are seen in just 1-2 weeks.
Sabran Bioenttri started its algal R&D and production base in Mumbai, near the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan state. The conceptual idea of Green Fodder Forever (GF2) was funded by the BIRAC-based grant from 2018 to 2020. The pilot production of algae-based GF2 was completed with testing and trials with many farm-based cattle herds, dairy farms and dairies like SUMUL, NESTLE, SARAS, and GOKUL based in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, UP, Punjab, Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The algae and probiotics-based consortia coated on dry fodder to make green fodder got immense attention and mileage in the Indian territories’ and a few more trademarks like PCUP, MIDA, CATTLACT and CATTCAL were made, and launched with the business partners in India.
Algae Farming Trends and Opportunities
A growing trend in recent years, you may already be familiar with a few types of algae adopted by the health food market, spirulina and agar. In fact, the global Algae farming market was estimated to be worth US$782.9 Million and is expected to reach $1.2 Billion by 2027.
Personal Care & Cosmetics
This algae sector alone totalled US$50.59 Million in 2021, according to Future Market Insights. The overall market value is expected to reach $76.50 Million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 4.2%.
Food & Beverage
While researchers are still trying to understand the bioavailability and digestibility of algal proteins, the presence of phytonutrients and fibre have made it a long-lived ingredient in the health food markets. Algae are responsible for creating a range of natural pigments that we value and can make great alternatives to harmful synthetic dies commonly used in food and cosmetics.
Globally, people are adopting vegetarian and flexitarian lifestyles to help with carbon emissions, and during 2020, at the height of the pandemic, global markets for algal protein were estimated at US$771.3 Million and expected to reach US$41.1 Billion by 2026, achieving a CAGR of 6.6%.
If you want to see an example of an amazing Canadian company making a difference in algae farming, Orbital Farms developed large closed-loop farms that are able to grow food and vaccines everywhere, including space. They did a great podcast with Harry Duran, that discusses how to structure start-up products for financing.
p> Because of algae’s simple lifecycle requirements, they are simple to manage and make great biofactories. The similarities between algae and plants mean that there are fewer genetic modifications required to make them efficient producers. On top of that, waste streams from pharmaceutical manufacturing can be used in other algae production streams.
Bioplastics & Biofuel
Seen as the next big move for biofuels, a group of 35 Japanese companies came together to announce their efforts and boost algal farming globally in October 2021. Some notable names include Eneos Holdings and Honda Motor Co.
In the early days of using algae for synthetic biofuels, companies had issues scaling production to meet demands. But in more recent years advancements in controlled environment agriculture, and in the process of algae, photobioreactors, have helped combat this.
Bioplastics are more easily adopted by society. There are companies that have created bioplastics that degrade in natural environments and meet commercial standards for consumer products sold in the USA.
Cows & Water
Nutritional supplements aren’t the first innovation to happen in cow farming. In 2019, engineer and entrepreneur Peter van Wingerden and his wife/business partner built and began operating a floating dairy farm in one of Amsterdam’s busiest shipping ports. The 4,800-sq-ft platform is complete with milking machinery and yogurt-making machines, as well as a storefront.
Other Innovations In Animal Feed
No one solution is going to be the be-all and end-all for meeting increasing global demand and consumption habits. There are lots of interesting ideas for helping farmers get the forage they need to feed their livestock herds.
The insect farming industry is growing rapidly and feeds both humans and livestock. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.8% to reach US$7.96 Billion by 2030, and agritech startups have been improving the concept to refine efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
Bioenttri’s North American Expansion
The lucrative North American dairy market attracted Bioentrri’s attention, but their journey has been longer than expected. And this wasn’t the only COVID-based issue. Farmers are busier than ever with supply chain delays and shortages, and a lack of foreign workers who usually work Canada’s farms during the busy months, and building relationships with consumers is taking longer than planned.
Bioenttri says about their North American expansion, “TBDC has opened up many horizons for us in terms of connections and opportunities for funding, grants and partnerships. TBDC has made commercialization and expansion activities smooth with the help of the startup ecosystem they have created which fosters growth.”
What advice would the team give to others trying to expand their start-ups? “Our advice for other startups/founders would be to do their market research and create a plan. Once that is done, having the right people in front of you such as a TBDC can make the whole process much easier.”
“Our experience with TBDC so far has been nothing short of amazing. The program was very efficient and structured in a way that it caters to the needs of different startups. Specialized focus is provided which helps in the rapid commercialization and development of a startup.”
Want to expand your Start-Up?
Breaking into the North American market can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be hard. When looking to expand your start-up globally, our incubator has 3 key performance indicators;
- Proven product-market fit
- Proof of concept
- Strong founding team
If your company has all three, we encourage you to apply for our Start-up Visa, as you’ve already done most of the hard work. Want to hear more about the TBDC start-up visa program? Book a call today!