Part of the complex process that turns raw materials into finished products like detergents, cosmetics and flavors relies on enzymes, which facilitate chemical transformations. But finding the right enzyme for a new or proposed drug or additive is a drawn out and almost random process — which Allozymes aims to change with a remarkable new system that could set a new standard in the industry, and has raised a $5 million seed round to commercialize.
Enzymes are chains of amino acids, the “building blocks of life” among the many things encoded in DNA. These large, complex molecules bind to other substances in a way that facilitates a chemical reaction, say turning sugars in a cell into a more usable form of energy.
Bees are absolutely critical to the health of our agricultural system, ecosystem, and overall wellbeing as a species here on Earth. And yet bee populations are decreasing and extinction concerns are growing.
Beeflow, a startup that today announced the close of a $8.3 million Series A round, is looking to both save the bees and help farmers be more efficient and effective at the same time.
The startup uses proprietary scientific technology that essentially makes bees healthier, particularly in cold weather. A wealth of research led the company to understand that certain plant-based foods and molecules, when fed to the bees, can reduce the mortality rate of bees by up to 70 percent, and help them perform better in colder weather.
You might be wondering what I mean by performance. That’s fair.
Bees are the planet’s natural pollinators. They turn flowers into fruit, spreading pollen from one landing spot to another. Many farmers will ‘rent out’ bees from beekeepers to hang out on their farms and pollinate their plants. In almost every way, the effectiveness of this can’t be measured, and the bees themselves can’t truly be controlled.
Beeflow’s technology ensures that the bees are healthy and strong, and can fly up to 7x more during colder weather than they’d be able to without it. This means that those bees are much more likely to effectively and efficiently pollinate crops for the farmers.
A slew of start-ups are engineering faux meats, eggs and dairy products that conjure a time when we move from farm-to-table to lab-to-table.
I spend nearly as much time talking about how I want to stop eating meat as I do eating it. I care about animals and the environment and, even more, virtue signaling about how much I care about animals and the environment. I just don’t want to make any effort or sacrifice any pleasure.
Lucky for me, a slew of venture-backed companies want to help me with my lazy altruism. They envision a world where we sit down for dinner and brag that no animals were harmed in the production of this carbon-neutral porterhouse. They want to Impossible Burger our entire diet. They want me to shift from farm-to-table to lab-to-table.
It’s beginning to work. Consumer sales of the increasingly impressive simulacra of meat, eggs and dairy products grew 24 percent from 2015 to 2020, according to the market research company NPD Group — and 89 percent of those people are, like me, not vegetarians.