ALAMEDA, CALIF. — Terviva, a food and agriculture company already working with Danone SA, has raised $54 million in equity capital to commercialize its culinary oil and plant protein, Terviva said May 20. The company expects to close an additional $24 million in equity and debt capital this financial quarter.
Terviva, based in Oakland, Calif., creates a golden-colored, buttery cooking oil and highly soluble plant protein from the beans of the pongamia tree. Terviva works with farmers to plant pongamia trees, which are native to Asia, on idle land that often has poor soil or water stress. On this type of land, an orchard of pongamia trees captures 115 tonnes of carbon per acre over 30 years. Pongamia trees produces nitrogen for healthy soils and requires little fertilizer or pesticides, according to Terviva.
Terviva, which has a global supply chain for pongamia beans, plans to open a facility in the United States in 2022 to produce pongamia-based foods.
“Terviva’s pongamia-based food ingredients broaden access to healthy and environmentally sustainable foods that directly combat climate change,” said Naveen Sikka, founder and chief executive officer of Terviva. “With our food ingredients, we can feed the planet and heal it at the same time.”
Paris-based Danone and Terviva are working to develop new food products that use pongamia oil and plant protein.
“We believe that healthy foods need a healthy planet with thriving ecosystems and strong, resilient social structures,” said Merijn Dols, global director of open innovation and circular economy for food of Danone. “This is why we are excited to team up with Terviva to co-develop important ingredients — edible protein and oil — from the pongamia tree, while also rehabilitating the soil the tree grows in.”
MISTA, a San Francisco-based global innovation platform, supports the Terviva-Danone partnership.
Investors in the $54 million financing round included Astera Institute, Evans Properties, Inc., Trustbridge Partners and Ron Edwards, who co-founded SoBe and Blue Buffalo pet food. Terviva also has a three-person advisory board: Vijay Advani, chairman of the US-India Business Council; Joe Light, who served as senior vice president of innovation for Ingredion before his retirement; and Ann M. Veneman, US Secretary of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005.