How Brevel Is Pioneering Alternative Protein from Microalgae

How Brevel Is Pioneering Alternative Protein from Microalgae

Brevel's alternative protein powder can be integrated into a broad spectrum of animal-free products like milk, cheese, meat and seafood, without causing any changes to their flavor or appearance. Photo courtesy of Brevel.

Brevel, an Israeli startup specializing in the conversion of microalgae into alternative proteins, recently secured $18.5 million in a seed funding round led by NevaTeam Partners. Of this amount, $8.4 million was repurposed from grants and convertible loans into equity stakes. Brevel had previously raised a total of $11.5 million in funding over eight rounds, making this latest investment its highest to date.

The Tel Aviv-based startup will use the new funding to deliver an alternative protein source that is neutral in taste, highly functional, remarkably sustainable and accessible to the broader food industry. Brevel asserts that its protein is the most eco-friendly on the planet and can be classified as a “ghost protein” due to its ability to seamlessly blend into any food without altering its flavor, color or taste. As a result, it finds utility in a broad spectrum of culinary applications.

“This substantial funding round will fuel Brevel’s journey forward and pave the way for our vision of sustainable nutrition for the future of our planet to materialize,” said Yonatan Golan, CEO and co-founder of Brevel, in a press release. “We are primed and ready for our next major leap — the global scale production of Brevel’s protein that will be integrated into healthier, tastier and environmentally-friendly food products in every household.”

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BrevelFounded in Tel Aviv in 2016 by three brothers, Yonatan, Matan and Ido Golan, Brevel has revolutionized the market with its unique proprietary technology that develops alternative proteins from microalgae. This first-of-its-kind technology marries sugar-based fermentation and light concentrations in industrial-scale systems.

The outcome is a sustainable protein that can be incorporated into a plethora of food applications due to its neutral taste and neutral color. Moreover, for the first time, this alternative protein has a cost comparable to traditional plant-based protein sources like pea and soy. In an environmentally conscious effort, Brevel’s process recycles 100 percent of the water, utilizes on-site clean energy and reduces the land required for traditional agriculture. 

Brevel is also actively enhancing its manufacturing capabilities by operating a large-scale 500 liter pilot in Israel; however, the startup is planning to build another, much larger facility by 2025 with an anticipated capacity of 900,000 liters. 

In December 2022, Brevel entered into a partnership with Vgarden, a fellow Israeli alternative protein company specializing in plant-based cheese, marking the first instance of Brevel’s protein being incorporated into plant-based cheese. The first food products containing Brevel’s protein are scheduled to hit the market by 2024.

However, Brevel isn’t the only company using microalgae for food products. Companies like Algenuity, NewFish and SimpliiGood are also taking advantage of microalgae. The natural resource is harnessed as an alternative to fossil fuels, with application in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and of course, as a source of food. With its versatility, the global microalgae market has a significant potential, projected to reach a value of $25.4 billion by 2033.

Brevel’s latest investment saw the support from various stakeholders including the European Union’s EIC Fund, several other food and climate funds and strategic partners from the food industry. As a condition of the investment, Shai Levy, managing partner at NevaTeam Partners, will be appointed to Brevel’s board of directors.

“Having followed Brevel’s impressive developments and achievements in recent years, we believe that Brevel will be one of the leading companies in the global alternative protein industry and we are excited to join their journey towards that goal,” Levy said in the same press release. “We believe that Brevel’s innovative technology enables the cost-efficient production of high-quality protein extracted from microalgae, which is crucial for the future of sustainable food production.”