- Founders: Guenther Bochmann, Simon Rittman and Gregor Tegl
- Founded in: 2021
- Employees: 32
- Money raised:-
- Ultimate goal: Feed people and regenerate the planet for this generation.
The world population is growing. A sustainable food system is therefore indispensable. Arkeon will therefore produce a sustainable and nutritious food system using CO2 to convert into food. They do this by using ancient microbes in a bioreactor. In this episode of Start-up of the day, co-founder Gregor Tegl explains how it works and how the company is doing.
Explain: how do you place CO2 for food?
“One of our co-founders, Simon Rittmann, discovered a microbe that lives on carbon dioxide. Not only that, it produces all sorts of different amino acids that we need. This is an incredible discovery because normally amino acids are only produced one at a time at a time. We found a way to commercialize this through a gas fermentation process in a bioreactor. For example, we no longer need animal tissue or agricultural land to produce the nutrients we all need. That way we contribute to a sustainable food system. “
What microbes are we talking about here?
“We use archaea microbes. These ancient microbes live in extreme conditions, for example at the bottom of volcanoes. They grow in places where there is little food available. They can live on all sorts of different nutrients. We can from an industrial point of view make good use of For example our microbes have CO2 needed as a raw material. This is especially an advantage in our current time, when we have too much CO2.”
In what kind of food are the nutrients you produce used?
“We can adapt our ingredients to our customers’ needs. They can, for example, be used as alternative protein products, as flavoring and aroma substances and food supplements. They are also used in cultured meat.”
How is your business doing at the moment?
“We have secured a lot of funds and are now scaling up. Our main task now is to further develop our technology. We have already implemented our process in a bioreactor and are now moving on to the next step: an even larger 150 liter reactor.”
What are you most proud of so far?
“I am very proud of my team. We are now 32 people and everyone is motivated to make the company a success. I think having a good team is the most important thing for a start-up. You can have a good idea, but if you don’t have the right people behind the mission, you’re not going to achieve your goals.”
“We are also very excited about the collaboration with our partners. ICL is, among other things, our new business partner. This large company that focuses on minerals in food is now our investor.”
What challenges are you facing?
“Due to the political situation, we have experienced major delays in the delivery of several products we need. For example, the delivery of our next bioreactor has been delayed. But even when it comes to simple chemicals that we need in our process, they sometimes take weeks to arrive. We are a fast-growing start-up, so global supply chain issues can be frustrating. But we try to deal with it as best we can so we stay on track.”
Where do you hope to be in five years?
“By then, we would like to produce ingredients on a large scale. And when we operate on a large scale, our products become cheaper. Hopefully that will allow us to grow even faster. So in five years, I hope we will already have a positive impact on the food system by making it more sustainable. And who knows, we are an innovative company. We can also use microbes for other purposes in the future.”