Davis, CA, March 2, 2022 – NuCicer, Inc., a crop genetics company pioneering ultra-high protein varieties of chickpea, today announced the closing of a $4.5 million Series Seed financing round. Lever VC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on innovative technologies and brands in the alternative protein space, led NuCicer’s round. Other participants included The House Fund, a fund backed by the University of California Endowment, as well as Trellis Road and Lifely VC.
The company has developed non-GM, proprietary chickpeas with up to 75% higher protein content than commodity chickpeas. The new funding will support commercialization trials of NuCicer’s first generation varieties, as well as the scaling of NuCicer’s genomic-guided speed breeding program to provide continuous product development and bring further novel improvements to market.
“We are excited by the overwhelming interest we received from the investment community in our Series Seed round and are now focused on moving forward with partnerships and commercialization,” said Kathryn Cook, CEO and co-founder of NuCicer. “We aim to cut the cost of chickpea protein nearly in half, making it price-competitive with other plant proteins such as soy and pea. This creates opportunities for our partners to develop new food and beverage products using our highly functional chickpea flour and purified protein ingredients.”
“With its excellent nutritionals, neutral flavor and color, and positive consumer perception, chickpea protein is an ideal ingredient for plant-based foods but has been too expensive to date,” said Nick Cooney, Managing Partner of Lever VC. “NuCicer will be able to bring to market chickpea protein ingredients, high-protein flours and whole beans with an incredible competitive advantage in pricing and functionality. We are truly excited about what Kathryn and the NuCicer team have created and are pleased to support them in their growth.”
NuCicer is focused on making high-value chickpea ingredients affordable to support human nutrition and improve the sustainability of global food systems – both by supporting the shift from animal to plant-based foods as well as opening opportunities for improvement at every step of the value chain.
NuCicer develops novel, high-protein chickpea varieties that enable scalable, sustainable ingredients spanning whole beans, gluten-free flours, and protein ingredients. It partners with growers who are attracted to chickpea’s capacity for nitrogen fixation and interested in NuCicer’s potential to increase the crop’s environmental resilience. NuCicer also partners with top ingredient manufacturers and food and beverage companies who recognize the potential of chickpea as a sustainable, functional ingredient. NuCicer combines an industry-leading chickpea germplasm library with cutting-edge genomics-guided speed breeding technologies to create its all-natural, non-GM chickpea varieties. For more information, please visit www.nucicer.com.