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Chinova Bioworks raises $6-million Series A round

A Canadian tech-for-good company working to reduce food waste and increase food safety has raised a $6-million Series A investment round.

Chinova Bioworks, a 2018 participant in Communitech’s Fierce Founders Bootcamp, uses mushroom stems that would otherwise be discarded to produce an all-natural food preservative, that is vegan, kosher, halal and free of allergens. Marketed under the name Chiber, it’s an extract fibre from the stems of white button mushrooms that improves quality, freshness and shelf-life, reducing food waste.

The company, based in Fredericton, N.B. with production facilities on Prince Edward Island, started in 2016. Co-founder and CEO Natasha Dhayagude was a finalist at the Fierce Founders Bootcamp pitch competition in February of 2018.

“The pandemic has accelerated the trend for food safety and health-focused products,” Dhayagude said in a news release. “With this increased consumer awareness and scrutiny, brands are under pressure to keep up and reformulate their products to meet clean-label demands. Departing from artificial preservatives is one of the most critical and challenging changes food producers must make. That’s where Chiber comes in, since it is a natural clean-label preservative found in mushrooms.”

Netherlands-based DSM Venturing, along with Rhapsody Venture Partners of Cambridge, Mass., co-led the funding round, with Rich Products Ventures also participating.

“Chinova has been crushing it for more than five years,”said Bernard Lupien, General Partner from Rhapsody Venture Partners. “It’s been amazing to see how quickly Chinova has been able to add customers, making investing a no-brainer.”

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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