May 23, 2024

Enifer raises €36m to make enough novel mycoprotein to feed 40,000 people

The company is set to upscale to a new factory, where it can produce up to 3k tons of protein product

Sadia Nowshin

4 min read

Finland-based Enifer, which uses leftover materials that would go to waste from the food and pulp industry to create its novel PEKILO® mycoprotein product, has raised a total of €36m in new funding. The round includes a €15m Series B round led by Taaleri Bioindustry, a €7m loan from the Finnish Climate Fund, a €2m loan from Finnvera and a €12m grant from Business Finland. 

The funding will be used to scale up its operations and move into a food-grade mycoprotein factory in the Finnish village of Kantvik. The company says that it’ll be the world's first commercial plant to produce a mycoprotein ingredient from side stream raw materials once completed in 2025. 

Reviving history

Making mycoprotein — which is a type of protein that comes from fungus — usually involves feeding a sugar mixture to a fungus which then grows into a mass that can be used as the base for food products. Brands like Quorn, for example, use it to make vegetarian meat alternatives. 


Enifer’s process uses waste from the paper and food industry rather than sugar, upcycles the leftover materials and makes its novel mycoprotein. It’s hoping to supply food manufacturers with a food-grade mycoprotein to use in vegan products.

The company plans to file for novel food approval in Europe and possibly Singapore this year, which would allow it to sell its product for human consumption. A decision is expected by 2026. 

While it waits for that moment, it is focusing on animal feed, including for fish farms in the aquaculture industry. 

What the mycoprotein is used for depends on the industry it takes feed material from: “Depending on the side stream, we could make a food grade protein — for instance, we're working with the dairy industry or the starch industry, [and] their byproducts could be converted into food grade product — whereas from the pulp industry or from biofuels, we would be looking at making protein for animal nutrition,” says CEO and cofounder Simo Ellilä. 

Making more mycoprotein  

Most of the new funding is earmarked for the development of a bigger factory to produce the protein at a commercial level, says Ellilä. It’s estimated it’ll cost around €33m to get it up and running. 

While the company can currently make around 5kg of product a day, the upscaled facility will allow the creation of 500kg an hour. Once it gets going in 2026, it plans to ramp up to 3,000 tonnes of the mycoprotein a year, which is enough to cover the annual protein needs of around 40k people. 

The geography of the new factory was also chosen for practicality.  

“It's next to the sea, which is important — not just for the view, but because the fermentation [process] actually needs a lot of cooling,” says Ellilä. The industrial space that Enifer will be moving into already uses seawater to cool the equipment within the facility. 

And while getting this factory running is the company’s next major milestone, Ellilä is already thinking about future projects. 

“It's really about ramping and scaling up, because we expect [this factory] to be the first of many. Behind the curtains we're working on several future factories, and many of them would be built together with someone else. Getting those off the ground sooner rather than later is a big task on our hands.” 

Rooted in history

The mycoprotein that Enifer produces is first-of-a-kind, but the process it uses is actually rooted in Finnish history. 


Using the side streams of the pulp and paper industry to make proteins was a process developed in the 1960s and 70s, says Ellilä, and was used for over 15 years to make mycoproteins for feedstock. 

But when the paper industry changed the materials it used in its production process, the side streams it produced — which were used to feed the mycoprotein — also changed. Plus, the engineering firm supplying the knowhow went bust during the country’s economic depression of the 90s, and so the process was phased out. 

“That’s the weird part: how actively it’s been forgotten,” says Ellilä. “We studied biotech in Finland, and we had never heard of it.”

Eniver is reviving the process thanks to a research director who recalled the history and enough about the process to help Ellilä and his cofounder figure out how it worked.

“We're basically picking up from where these people left off, modernising this unique process and relaunching it to serve new markets,” says Ellilä.  

Sadia Nowshin

Sadia Nowshin is a reporter at Sifted covering foodtech, biotech and startup life. Follow her on X and LinkedIn