Cow-free milk company brews up $25m

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

A company that produces dairy free milk has landed backing from the Victorian government and Main Sequence Ventures in a $25 million Series A round announced on Tuesday.

Eden Brew, an Australian company co-founded by the CSIRO, Australia’s oldest dairy co-op and Main Sequence Ventures, produces animal free dairy products it says can rival the traditional method.

It does this with a world-first animal-free casein micelle — the key ingredient needed for animal-free dairy. Most alternative milk products are made using plants, such as soy or almond, meaning they can lack the same nutritional value and taste.

An Eden Brew prototype. Image: CSIRO

On Tuesday, the company announced Main Sequence had led the $25 million Series A, with institutional investors, state government investment fund Breakthrough Victoria and several celebrities also participating.

The funding will go to scaling the company and bringing products to market, including piloting of commercial scale production and the launch of the ice cream product.

Eden Brew was co-founded by Jim Fader, a former Woolworths executive who joined Main Sequence to launch the company through CSIRO’s Company Creation team and Future Protein Mission.

“We are focused on creating the ultimate animal-free casein micelle which is critical to produce the properties of milk that we’re used to, and yet it’s cow-free,” Mr Fader, now chief executive, said.

“The micelle makes nutrition such as calcium bioavailable and its replication via precision fermentation means families have another source to meet their nutritional needs. This is something alternative plant-derived milks cannot replicate. It’s a huge deal, it’s never been done and will change the landscape of alternative milks.”

The venture was founded in 2020 with CSIRO, Norco Dairy Cooperative and Main Sequence Ventures to commercialise work on mapping cow genes and making similar milk products with precision fermentation.

The Eden Brew startup launched the following year but missed an initial goal of launching a product by the end of 2022.

“As the global population grows, it poses a very real threat to our existing food supply and resources, and companies like Eden Brew augment this to ensure the availability of food in the future,” said Main Sequence Ventures partner and Eden Brew chair, Phil Morle.

The Victorian government also made a substantial undisclosed investment in the round through its venture fund Breakthrough Victoria.

“Eden Brew is a great example of what we can achieve in Australia when we bring together our strengths in science, investment and industry, and Breakthrough Victoria is excited to be part of that” said Breakthrough Victoria chief Grant Dooley.

Musicians Bernard Fanning, Angus Stone and athlete and Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott also invested in the round.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

Leave a Comment

Related stories