Insect-based pet food start up secures 300k in funding

Insect-based pet food start up, Aardvark has successfully raised more than £300k from investors to help launch its first products.

Having originally sought £50k on Crowdcube, valuing the company at £1.05m, the raise reached 100% of its initial target after just five days.

Aardvark went on to overfund by 600% from over 900 investors and ended the round early after just 25 days. The raise will support the brand’s plans to manufacture and market its inaugural range of dry kibbles, scheduled to launch early 2021.

The brand’s mission is to make pets planet-friendly through using sustainable insect protein in its food rather than animal meat. The environmental impact of pets to this day remains a virtually untold story – with pets eating an estimated 20% of the world’s meat and being responsible for as much as a quarter of the damage associated with the meat industry.

Aardvark’s insect protein requires as little as 2% of the land area and 4% of the water per kg of protein when compared to beef. Additionally, it’s a hypoallergenic high protein source meaning it is particularly well suited for pets with sensitive stomachs.

By championing a lighter carbon ‘pawprint’ and a digitally native approach the challenger brand is seeking to disrupt the pet food sector and become a lifestyle brand that speaks to a largely millennial audience.

Aardvark founder, Hugo Walters said: “I’m delighted by the level of investment we received via our Crowdcube round and to be able to bring Aardvark to pets across the UK. For too long pet owners like myself have been looking for sustainable food for their pets and we have been held back by the lack of alternatives to animal meat.

“Insect protein offers a viable solution that is both good for your pet and the planet. The overfunding will enable us to scale more quickly, with the aim of becoming the market leader for sustainable pet food in the UK.”

Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang commented: “With the spotlight on sustainability coupled with the increase in demand for pets since the pandemic, it was no surprise to see Aardvark attract so much deserved attention during their raise with Crowdcube. It’s fantastic to see. So much deserved attention during their raise with Crowdcube. It’s fantastic to see a hefty 900 investors join them on their mission to make pet ownership sustainable.”

Aardvark aims to make pet ownership sustainable by developing a range of pet food for dogs and cats that uses insects as the protein source. Starting with a range of dry kibbles for dogs and cats, Aardvark is set to launch early 2021 via subscription and standalone DTC channels, with a view to move into pet food stores within eight months and supermarkets shortly after.