Malaysian cricket-based sustainable food technology startup Ento announced that it has closed a seed funding round led by Singaporean based Venture Capital firm, Rapzo Capital. Kevin Wu, CEO & Founder of Ento said that the funding will be used for production and regional market expansion.
On its website, Ento states that the company will focus on several key growth areas such as production capacity expansion, new product lines creation, new market access, and automation technology development within its production process.
The end goals, Ento noted, are to reduce cost structure, improve production efficiency, and set up a scalable technology platform.
Wu said: “Over the next 12 months, we aim to have a strong presence both online and offline. Ento has set its sights on target markets within Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.”
According to an article on Vulcan Post, Ento produced about 1,000 packets of crickets per month back in May but has since increased production to about 5,000 packets a month.
Ento also plans to introduce a mass-targeted new product named Cricket Granola Protein Bites. Aside from snacks, Ento has also been supplying some manufacturers with their cricket powders.
With the significant shift in the healthy lifestyle trend that’s here to stay, Ento also managed to educate the public, especially Malaysians, about the benefits of consuming crickets.
After a failed Kickstarter campaign, Wu and the team learned to retreat to focus only on reaching customers within Malaysia and Southeast Asia, Vulcan Post shared.
“We have competitions from countries like Thailand, which is also our targeted expansion spot. But we are the first Malaysian company to go regional with a healthy and sustainable protein,” said Wu.
The company recently added key hires into their team with new COO, Antonnio Hong, ex-Head of Strategy & Corporate Planning of Hong Leong Bank, also advisor Scott Su, the Head of Tech Ventures at Sime Darby Plantation.
“I think the planet needs an alternative and sustainable protein to sustain. The population will hit 10 billion by 2050 and there’s no way we can sustain the amount of food we have for future populations. There are already issues in areas where there are drought and hard-to-farm lands. We believe that switching to insect-based protein is a potential solution to solve our future problems,” Wu quoted saying.
Ento’s funding made the news almost at the same time as Cricket One, a Vietnamese cricket protein startup that secured funding from 500 Startups and Masik Enterprise earlier this week.