Co-founded by an Executive MBA graduate of Cambridge Judge Business School, Emeralga Biotech wins the First edition of the Coller Alternative Protein Competition organised by CPT Capital and the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge.
Alternative protein technologies – creating meat, eggs, dairy and seafood more sustainably and without animals – can help tackle global issues we face today around climate change, global food insecurity, food safety, public health, antibiotic resistance, and animal welfare. Such products can be made directly from plant sources, through fermentation technology or by cultivating cells in bioreactors.
Microalgae-based nutrition startup Emeralga Biotech won the first edition of the Coller Alternative Protein Competition organised by CPT Capital in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School.
Emeralga Biotech uses microalgae to produce a landless and waterless source of nutrition while reducing carbon emissions. The firm relies on by-products from the food and beverage industry. Breweries, for example, waste six litres of water for every litre of beer, so the company uses nutrients in water to cultivate microalgae and process it to produce vegan nutrition such as vegan nutrients and vegan omega fatty acids.
As winner, Emeralga Biotech will receive a £100,000 investment from CPT Capital, which invests exclusively in alternative protein technologies for sustainable food and materials applications. The CEO and Co-Founder of Emeralga Biotech is Aditi Mahajan, an Executive MBA graduate of Cambridge Judge (EMBA 2020).
In a video, Aditi says that the global protein market is worth over $40 billion, while alternative proteins are growing by a compound annual rate of 17% a year.
Second place went to New Grain Leather, which focuses on producing animal-free and plastic-free leather from brewers’ spent grain; it will receive a £25,000 investment from CPT Capital. The CEO and Co-Founder of New Grain Leather is Brett Cotten, who holds an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise (MBE) from the University of Cambridge, and the Co-Founder is Edward Mitchell.
“The UK has all the ingredients to be a global leader and food innovation hub for the world,” said Jeremy Coller, Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Coller Capital and Founder of CPT Capital, who was one of the judges of the competition.
“We have been inspired by your ideas and passion to make a difference throughout this competition,” he said to the entrants. “We look forward to continuing supporting this competition in the hope that the next generation of Cambridge students, researchers and academics will focus on the huge business and research opportunities available in alternative proteins and food technology more generally.”
Bruno Cotta, Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, said: “The competition to find innovative sources and applications of alternative protein was both rigorous and enlightening, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to host this event with the support of CPT Capital. The quality of entrants was very impressive with Aditi and Brett representing a growing number of our highly motivated and entrepreneurial graduates from Cambridge’s talented MBA and MBE community.”
Emeralga Biotech is on the Venture Builder Programme of Carbon13, an organisation founded by Chris Coleridge, Management Practice Associate Professor at Cambridge Judge, that works with founders to build startups that can reduce carbon emissions.
The competition took place throughout May and June, with the winner and runner-up announced on 23 June.