Pet treat manufacturer, Bond Pet Foods, has received US$17.5 million in Series A funding round, allowing the company to expand its plant-based pet food range.

Plant-based pet treat manufacturer, Bond Pet Foods leans into the creation of “nature-identical” chicken, beef, fish and other meat proteins using precision fermentation after a US$17.5 million Series A funding round.

The investment was generated by a group of investors that includes Archer-Daniels-Midland Company’s venture arm ADM Ventures, Cavallo Ventures, Genoa Ventures, Lever VC, Thia Ventures, iSelect Fund, Stage 1 Fund, Lifely VC and Satori Capital.

Joining in as individual investors are musicians Sia Isabelle Furler and Joan Jett. Prior to the Series A round, the company raised US$2.5 million to bring its total funding since 2017 to US$20 million. This latest investment will enable the company to expand its meat protein portfolio and scale up production at a new 15,000-square-foot facility in Boulder while also tripling the size of its team, said Bond Pet Foods co-founder, Rich Kelleman.

Initially, the company was thinking of making its own brand of pet food, but decided to make the shift to meat proteins for other companies to use due to interest from some big pet food names.

Last November, Bond kicked this off by announcing a partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to develop a craft meat protein for its product portfolio.

“All of these global players knocked on our door, and we realized that we can build a healthy business and have a larger material impact if we collaborate with established companies instead of doing it on our own,” said Kelleman. “We’re really accelerating our process development work to bring down the cost of goods as well as making some fast work of our strain engineering.”

The facility is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023, and Kelleman expects initial meat proteins to be ready for commercialization in two years. That period includes pilot feeding programs to collect data that demonstrates performance, safety and efficacy as Bond works through the regulatory process.

Kelleman says Bond is close to having the final specification for its chicken meat protein completed within the next few months. Then it will go through feeding trials in dogs and cats, likely early next year, as it continues to work through the regulatory process and collaborating with strategic pet food partners.

With the new focus, the Boulder, Colorado–based company joins a list of incumbents focused on healthier pet food options, including Freshpet, which launched its Spring & Sprout vegetarian dog food last September; Maev, developing human-grade raw dog food; Alpha Paw in the supplement space; and Jinx, focused on clean-label dog food.

Functional ingredients “over and above” general nutrition needs have seen “dynamic growth” in pet foods recently, with increasingly health-minded owners seeking-out similar benefits for furry family members. According to Allied Maket Research the market is estimated to reach US$4.6 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 8.8% from 2021 to 2030.