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“Today, it is a call to everyone to contribute to the preservation of the environment.“, shares one of the students.

In April Nasekomo, the only biotechnology company in Eastern Europe for the development of technologies for industrial insect rearing, announced the first edition of its internship program in Bulgaria. Today part of the team are already five students working closely with Nasekomo biologists, engineers and procurement experts.

The program provides an opportunity for young scientists to gain practical experience and realization in the field of scientific research for industrial insect rearing. Trayana, Veronika and Mihail now gain knowledge and hands-on experience as part of the company’s research and development team working on scientific projects observing the implementation in a real-world environment. The projects are related to microbiology, probiotics in insect’s diet, bioconversion and processing, rearing optimization, as well as product development. What two of the interns Mihail and Veronika, veterinary medicine students, share is that this program will help them experience something new, interesting and even “exotic”. “Nasekomo is the thing of the future and I see a lot of modern and innovative components in all aspects of the work”, says Mihail. Veronika shares that the knowledge gained here will help her be a better veterinary doctor by better understanding the role of alternative proteins in animals’ diet on their health and wellbeing.

“I am very interested in biotech and especially in sustainable development, so a company that combines the two right in my hometown sounded like an amazing opportunity with a lot of prospects for international collaborations, which is always a plus for me. I appreciate the fact that I am given responsibilities in the data gathering and analysis part of the process. It is an area that really fascinates me, but so far, I have not had any hands-on experience. The possibility of learning by doing is the best work experience one can get.”, shares Trayana Hristova, who specializes Bioinformatics at Sorbonne University.

Marie-Michèle and Dimitry Pons joines respectively Nasekomo’s procurement and engineering teams. Marie-Michèle comes from Haiti and is currently completing her master’s degree at the Specialized Institute of Francophone Administration and Management in Sofia with a focus in Supply Chain Management. Today, it is a call to everyone to contribute to the preservation of the environment. Joining a company like Nasekomo will allow me to acquire in-depth knowledge of the professional world in the field of logistics, but also in biotechnology, and thus strengthen my environmental sensitivity. As someone from the Caribbean, this is my first experience working internationally. At the end of this period, I will be able to collaborate in a multicultural environment, valuing our differences to achieve common objectives. In the long term I may even consider the initiation of such a project in my home country.”, says Marie-Michèle. Dimitry comes from France, where he is studying mechanical engineering at Arts et Metiers ParisTech and working as a design engineer. Dimitry learns about Nasekomo as part of a school project that brings him to a three-month adventure in Bulgaria supporting the engineering team of Nasekomo in their efforts in corrosion prevention in the larvae rearing area.

The team of like-minded people, young scientists with a passion for innovation will be joined by two more students in the next months.

The joint project of Nasekomo and Regional Veterinary Station Ruse “Innovative services for emerging bio-based industries: parametrization of key industrial indicators for insect bio-valorization of low-value organic streams” ended successfully in June 2024. The project was supported by the National Innovation Fund through the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises and lasted 18 months starting in December 2022. The project is unique for Bulgaria and Europe, as it is the first time that scientific data on key indicators in the production cycle of bio-valorization by black soldier fly have been derived and validated both in the laboratory and in a near-production environment. The data will frame the optimal parameters for the startup and cost-effective management of insect bio-valorization factories.

The project was implemented in partnership between Nasekomo EAD and (Regional Veterinary Station Ruse EOOD – a laboratory for testing food, feed, and biological materials with over 87 years of experience in food and feed testing. Both partners recognized the need for reliable, scientifically proven indicators that would enable the definition of the quality of products resulting from the industrial production of insects for the feed industry.

Furthermore, the project enabled both partners to expand their capacities and offer entirely new services to their clients.

RVS Ruse EOOD conducted numerous studies on insect organic fertilizer and initiated the preparation of the necessary documentation to expand its accreditation scope. This will enable this entirely new service – testing insect fertilizer – to be offered for the first time in Bulgaria. In the research part of the project, an innovative method for the determination of amino acids was developed and the physicochemical parameters of various insect products were investigated.

Nasekomo developed a new service module for assessing the technical feasibility and profitability of a bio-valorization factory using insects, which to offers to its clients. The focus is on optimizing input organic raw materials, production process indicators, and the quality of end products. The project data on the nutritional values of end products and physicochemical parameters of insect organic fertilizer provide a valuable contribution to the industry and represent the first successful attempt to derive and validate industrial parameters in the insect industry.

As the industrial insect farming sector addresses the sustainability issues of feed ingredients and the growing demand for protein, this project is a vital step towards offering a sustainable alternative to traditional protein sources like soy and fish meal. By developing innovative protein sources, Europe aims to reduce dependency on soy imports, providing greater security for European farmers and livestock producers.

Green Transition Forum 4.0, held in Sofia from 26 to 28 June, brought together an impressive array of participants, including representatives of the European Commission and Parliament, the Bulgarian President, leading regional politicians and ministers, key figures from EIB, IMF, CEE business professionals, local authorities, academia, NGOs, and media.

Redefining the CEE Region Global Perspective was the theme of the fourth edition of the must-attend event in Bulgaria for anyone committed to a sustainable future.

Maria Aleksandorva, Head of Innovation Projects and Sustainability at Nasekomo, took part in a round table discussion on accelerators and support mechanisms to promote research and innovation, and the role of national and EU funding programmes in enhancing research capacity.

The round table turned to be the most practical discussion on accelerating innovation for green growth featuring a keynote and a Q&A session between the Director-General of DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission, Mr. Marc Lemaitre and some of the most outstanding impact innovators of the local ecosystem among whom Boris Kostadinov – Director of Software Systems, Monika Dimitrova, Executive Director of EurA Sofia and co-founder of VODORALSO, Dragomir Ivanov, Founder and CEO of Hydrogenera, Todor Todoroff, CEO of Bronia AI, Victor Botev, CTO and Co-Founder of Iris.ai, Nikolay Vasev, Chief Operating Officer at Epix AI.

Nasekomo’s expert Maria Alexandrova contributed significantly to the discussion, emphasizing the crucial role that national and EU funding programs play in supporting start-ups and SMEs to deliver the next generation of innovations on the market. She touched upon the need for implementing a systemic approach through inclusive measures and funding across entire value chains and the need for regulatory reforms and administrative relief to see green transition proliferating at scale.

The Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) quoted Maria, highlighting that Nasekomo offers products fostering a circular economy. Maria pointed out the importance of adhering to carbon footprint requirements and agricultural regulations to increase the value of initially low-value products. She explained how Nasekomo transforms agricultural waste into valuable protein under strictly controlled conditions, showcasing the company’s commitment to innovative and sustainable solutions.

We are proud to announce that Xavier Marcenac, co-founder and co-CEO of Nasekomo, has been prominently featured on the cover story of the latest edition of Forbes Bulgaria magazine.

The latest edition delves into the essentials that form the bedrock of successful ventures: personal drive, trusted networks, a clear vision backed by thorough research, meticulous planning, and unwavering belief. And crucially, a commitment to a business with a mission.

We are delighted to see in this context our Co-CEO featured on the cover of Forbes Bulgaria! The magazine highlights Xavier Marcenac’s journey as emblematic of “sustainable business with the potential to address significant challenges.”

This recognition reaffirms our commitment to building a business that not only addresses sustainability challenges but also provides impactful solutions grounded in responsibility and mission.

Forbes Bulgaria online edition is available at https://forbesbulgaria.com/store/

Sofia, Bulgaria – April 5, 2024 – Nasekomo, the only biotechnology company developing technologies for industrial insect breeding in Eastern Europe, announces its first internship program in Bulgaria. The programme provides young scientists with the opportunity to gain practical experience and realisation in the field of industrial insect farming research. Selected interns will work directly with Nasekomo’s experienced research and development team and will have the opportunity to join and contribute to three ongoing research projects and follow their implementation in a real-world environment:

This is a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in the fascinating realm of scientific research on industrial insect farming.

The internship program is open to students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in biology, entomology, biotechnology, agronomy, microbiology or related fields. Its duration varies from 4 to 30 weeks depending on the students’ availability and the time frame of the project they decide to join.

“At Nasekomo, we blend science and innovation using the power of natural sciences and intelligent technologies. With our internship program, we open our doors to fellow innovators passionate about making a difference,” says Vesela Georgieva, HR Manager at the company.

Applications are open until the end of April 2024. More information on the programme and how to apply is available at https://nasekomo.life/careers/

Sofia, Bulgaria – March 20, 2024 – Nasekomo, a leading biotech company in the insect bioconversion industry, announces the appointment of Stefka Mavrodieva as its new Chief Digital Officer. Ms. Mavrodieva brings over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, with a focus on strategic programs involving digitalization, Cloud solutions and overall business development.

In her new role, Ms. Mavrodieva will be responsible for the development and execution of Nasekomo’s digital strategy, including big data management, Artificial Intelligence driven automation, technology integration and cyber security. She will also play a key role in the company’s efforts to scale its operations and expand into new markets through its innovative franchise model.

The appointment comes a few months after the company attracted an investment of 8 million euros to develop a new generation of bio-based technologies with zero waste and after late last year Nasekomo and Siemens Bulgaria announced a strategic partnership to digitise the cultivation of Hermetia Illuces for industrial purposes .

I am inspired to join Nasekomo at this pivotal time in the company’s growth,” said Ms. Mavrodieva. “The company presents the unique opportunity to revolutionise the insect bio-engineering industry and I am confident that my experience and expertise will help achieve these goals.”

Nasekomo’s ambition to be an innovator in the dynamically developing insect industry has driven the company to work forward scaling the access to bioconversion technologies through a franchise model with a network of digitised farms. A key prerequisite for achieving this goal is the development of smart technologies and the training of artificial intelligence to digitise all stages of the insect rearing process, protein production and inter-factory connectivity. Nasekomo already holds a series of international patents for robotic solutions in this field, giving it a technological advantage over competitors from other countries.

“Both the company’s ambitions and culture response to my nature. I believe I will find new opportunities to apply my previous experience, exploring completely new territories in the field of biotechnology in synergy with the innovations in the technological world,” shared the new Chief Digitisation Officer at Nasekomo.

Sofia, Bulgaria | 11.01.2024 – Nasekomo, the European scale-up with operations in France and Bulgaria, is proud to announce the successful closing of its Series A financing round, securing €8 million in growth capital. The investment, led by Invenio Partners, a private equity fund focusing on the SEE region, alongside several high-net-worth individuals, comes only a month after Nasekomo’s strategic partnership with Siemens.

Nasekomo is primed to leverage this substantial capital infusion to launch an extensive network of cutting-edge insect bioconversion facilities across Europe, with an eye towards expanding onto additional continents in the near future. The first franchised factory, serving as Nasekomo’s second facility after the successful launch of its industrial demonstration center near the capital Sofia, will also be located in Bulgaria, in partnership with a local entrepreneur, starting operations in 2025. Currently the company is exploring opportunities in Romania as well.

The company’s mission is to play a pivotal role in advancing the industrialization of insect farming for high-quality protein production, addressing global protein demand, food access challenges, and sustainability issues in feed production. Insect protein, a sustainable alternative, follows a circular production model, promoting circular economy practices in farming and the food and beverage industry.

Established in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Xavier and Olga Marcenac and biologist Marc Bolard, Nasekomo is driven by a commitment to creating a sustainable business with a positive mission. The founders aspire to pioneer proprietary robotized, AI-assisted technologies that will revolutionize the manufacturing of feed by delivering higher-quality, sustainably produced protein, aligning with the dynamic needs of the global agricultural landscape.

Xavier Marcenac, co-founder and co-CEO of Nasekomo, expressed his pride in the company’s accomplishments and its strategic partnership with Invenio, stating, “We firmly believe that our collaborative efforts will lead to the successful realization of our ambitious vision – to accelerate the growth of the insect industry by providing the picks and shovels to newcomers which in our case means genetically selected seed larvae and our end-to-end bioconversion factory technology.”

Co-founder and co-CEO Marc Bolard added, “Our objective is to enable insects to positively impact our food chain in nutrient availability, quality and sustainability. To do so, we need to attain the highest level of standardization and process optimization in our upcoming network of franchised factories through genetics, automation, digitalization, AI-native solutions, and interconnected operations.”

Stanislav Nikolaev, Partner and COO at Invenio Partners, who will become Board Member of Nasekomo, added: “The biotechnology industry, with its inherent sustainability, is well-positioned for rapid and substantial expansion, presenting an exclusive opportunity for investors seeking returns in the realm of sustainable production. This investment in Nasekomo underscores our commitment at INVENIO Partners to support industry pioneers using the latest technologies to enhance their production processes.”

In a recent development, Nasekomo signed an agreement with technology leader Siemens for a strategic partnership focused on the digitization of the insect industry.

About Nasekomo: Nasekomo is a European scale-up dedicated to advancing insect bioconversion for sustainable high-quality protein production. Established in 2017, the biotechnology company is committed to addressing global agricultural challenges through innovative solutions, leveraging cutting-edge AI technologies, robotics and digitalized solutions. Through Fly Genetics, its joint venture with Groupe Grimaud, a world leader in animal genetics selection, it has developed a sophisticated selection program, empowering its partners to produce enhanced premium insect protein on an industrial scale. Rooted in its core activities, the company employs a circular model that has the potential to inspire and elevate sustainability practices across other industries.

About INVENIO Partners: INVENIO Partners manages a private equity and growth equity fund INVENIO Partners Fund II SCSP focused on investments in Southeast Europe. INVENIO Partners has experience in promoting and helping companies realize their full potential and enhance their performance by providing growth capital, strategic guidance, and operating support to strong management teams. INVENIO Partners discovers companies with a solid track record and potential for a leadership position in their respective industry with competitive business models and an experienced management team. The fund is supported by the European Investment Fund as its anchor investor, while also bringing onboard multiple reputable investors, including among others two of the leading pension fund managers in Bulgaria.

The Open Doors event was organized by the European project CoRoSect to present its recent achievements

The CoRoSect project, which brings together 19 innovation-leading organizations in Europe, has opened its doors to some of the key achievements so far. The project aims to optimize insect farming through digitization and provide greater opportunities for industry growth.

A complete robotic system for managing the production of insect protein, demonstrated connectivity and networking, during which individual robots and subsystems served together different stages of the production process.

Each of the robots is the result of two years of development by various partners, and, in Nasekomo, within nearly a month, the behavior of the robots was tested and the connectivity between them was perfected.

During the Open Doors event, an autonomous transport robot, an industrial robotic arm and a fine manipulation arm were shown working interactively in a dynamic robotic cell to perform operations together.

The CoRoSect project is an example of how avant-garde the insect industry can be, which, in addition to providing the much-needed protein, also plays a key role in introducing circular production by acquiring low-value raw materials from the agro and food industries.

The interest in the cultivation of insects for alternative protein is growing rapidly, which will soon lead to the need to automate processes and even the entire production in order to scale up according to market demand. A study on the global insect protein market reveals that while this market is valued at USD 428.12 million in 2022, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.5% is projected, whereby the market will grow to US$ 1,386.55 million by 2027.

The CoRoSect project is ahead of its time to respond in time to the predicted increase in the need for new protein production technologies and provide greater opportunities for industry growth. Because CoRoSect works with living organisms, the challenges are many and varied. For example, tracking and managing the conditions in which insects are reared is extremely key to providing quality protein in pre-set volumes. A system was demonstrated today that, with the help of artificial intelligence, monitored and analyzed the state and well-being of insects, as well as their condition and number.

Rico Möckel, project coordinator and associate professor at Maastricht University, shared:

“The work at Nasekomo was extremely rich and successful. We tested the CoRoSect system extensively and got pretty good results that exceeded our expectations. Thanks to the support of Nasekomo, we were able to successfully test an automatic quality management application under real-world conditions. With the help of artificial intelligence, we were able to analyze the quality composition of the insects provided to us for observation. In fact, today, for the first time, we demonstrated connectivity of our robots in a configuration to serve a real larval rearing process for the Black Soldier Fly that Nasekomo works with.”

The CoRoSect project is facing another insect species research and work on, and the biggest challenge is going to be the final demonstration at the Spanish Entomotech farm.

“This project supports both our positioning as a biotech company and also paves the way for the development of an innovative multi-level industry,” said Xavier Marcenac, co-founder of Nasekomo.

CoRoSect is excited to announce the Open Day event at NASEKOMO, Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for September 28th, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 12:00. This event will provide attendees possibility to dive not only into the main goals of the CoRoSect project, but also into the significance of optimization of the insect farming practices.

During the event, the attendees will have an opportunity to experience an interactive part of the CoRoSect project, as well as to hear about the goals and achievements reached so far. Furthermore, Open Day will serve as a mini exhibition of the technologies developed and deployed throughout the project’s lifetime. During the exhibition, CoRoSect will showcase the robots and hardware, the connectivity among them, thus demonstrating their networking and integration.

The participants will get a unique possibility to observe cutting-edge farming practices being used in action, as well as the use of various tools and technologies. Attendees will therefore walk away with priceless knowledge, see cutting-edge developments in the industry, and join the effort to unleash the enormous potential of insect farming in resolving urgent global food issues.

About the CoRoSect project

CoRoSect, an EU-funded project under Horizon 2020, aims to revolutionize insect farming as a sustainable solution for European food insecurity. By combining cutting-edge robotics with insect research, CoRoSect scales up production, reduces costs, and unlocks the potential of this innovative farming approach.

The CoRoSect project gathers 19 partners across Europe and is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme and all the information is available on the project’s website, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube.