French start-up Ÿnsect raises $224 million to build bug farm

FILE PHOTO: Mealworms are pictured at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway, July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French start-up Ÿnsect, which harvests mealworms for bug-based food and fertiliser, has raised $224 million (172.5 million pounds) from investors including Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition to build an insect farm near Paris and expand in North America.

Ÿnsect has now raised $425 million, after a previous $125 million fundraising and subsidies of $23 million, a spokeswoman for the company told Reuters.

Led by Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect uses larval beetles for the production of insect-based nutrients for pets and fish, and as fertiliser for plants.

As well as the FootPrint Coalition, Astanor Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Hong Kong-based Happiness Capital, Supernova Invest and Armat Group took part in the fundraising.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Alexander Smith