New investment: Phyx44

Michal Klar
Michal Klar
min read
Nov 11, 2022

We're happy to share our latest investment, in the first full-stack precision fermentation dairy startup in India, Phyx44.

Here's the story of why:

When founder Bharath Bakaraju decided to launch his second startup, he wanted to tackle the biggest challenge - climate change.

After looking for a while, he finally stumbled upon precision fermentation.

He quickly understood the technology’s potential – it helped that he has a biochemistry degree from one of India’s most respected universities, IIT Kharagpur.

Precision fermentation can recreate dairy ingredients using microbes. It effectively “teaches” microbes to do what a cow or buffalo would do inside its cells.

The result: components identical to the ones found in traditional dairy, but animal-free, lactose-free and planet-friendly - with a smaller carbon footprint, land and water use compared to standard dairy products.

It felt like a great fit for Bharath - not only that he wanted to contribute to environmental sustainability, he also has been a vegan for a few years and really missed some dairy products.

“I’ve always struggled to find good alternatives to curd (yoghurt), ice cream and paneer.” – he said.

Bharath also believed that to be impactful, it needs to be scaled to a large business - he has seen tech at scale when he worked at Google and Amazon.

So he decided to give it a go and launched Phyx44 in Bangalore in early 2021.

Is India a good place to launch and scale a precision fermentation dairy company?

The country is the largest dairy producer and consumer globally. It also makes over 50% of the world’s vaccines by volume – thanks to low-cost R&D and manufacturing.

At Better Bite Ventures, we believe India may in the future extend this leading position to food tech and become a leading ‘smart protein’ production hub, with precision fermentation as one of the key technology pillars.
Back to Bharath’s story - he convinced some very talented people to join him on the journey and built a stellar scientific team with 6 PhDs on board.

What's unique in the startup’s approach?

Bharath explains: “We’re one of the few companies working on key fat components alongside key dairy proteins. We believe this will help us to create a superior product. Our ultimate goal is to create all key components and reconstruct dairy, from the ground up”

Focusing on the ‘full stack’ of whey & casein proteins plus dairy fats will enable Phyx44’s products to improve taste and functionality and be used in ice cream, cheese, baked goods and more.

This funding round, led by us (Better Bite Ventures) with the participation of Ahimsa VC, PeerCapital, Spectrum Impact, Rohit Gulati (MD & Partner at Boston Consulting Group) and Sandhya Sriram, PhD (co-founder and CEO of Shiok Meats), will enable Phyx44 to expand the team and scale up the product - with a goal to launch in 2024 in Singapore and India.

We're excited to see Bharath and team harness their precision fermentation technology and bring compelling dairy products to market.

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