We’re excited to announce our investment in Nūmi’s $3m Seed round, a Paris-based biotech start-up pioneering the production of cell-cultured breast milk. The round was led by our friends at Heartcore and we’re excited to back the team alongside a strong syndicate of founders of cell-based companies.
Nūmi was born out of the collaboration between Eugénie Pezé-Heidsieck (CTO), PhD in molecular biology, and Eden Banon (CEO), former talent investor at Entrepreneur First, and it really combines their complementary backgrounds to tackle the lacking breast-milk alternatives market.
The founders knew they wanted Nūmi to have a strong social impact, and Numi’s mission really resonated with them. “We’re two women in our 30s, surrounded by friends and sisters that have faced challenges breastfeeding their babies or have chosen not to. We felt there weren’t optimal alternatives out there, and few answers to the obstacles that the vast majority of women face in this respect” shares Eden Banon.
Current substitutes, which are mainly based on cow’s milk, are not nutritionally suited to the growth of infants, who need the 1,500 constituents found in human breast milk. What is more, intolerance to cow’s milk protein is a common allergy, making it less easily digestible, further complicating the lives of many families.
“We realized that with cell culture we could bring this revolution to the market. We can have a big social impact while also having an environmental perspective as we move away from cow milk” continues Eden.
Nūmi’s breakthrough technology, based on cell culture, strictly imitates the phenomenon already at work in women’s bodies and perfected by nature to reproduce human breast milk. Nūmi enables the 70% of women who have difficulties breastfeeding, or those who have chosen not to breastfeed, to provide their child with a natural solution that is as close as possible to breast milk for optimal infant development.
As Eden puts it: “The production of milk in vitro isn’t new, but what makes it particularly interesting now are all the innovations in the field, such as culture media or bioreactors, which allow for such process to be viable at scale. This wasn’t necessarily the case 10 years ago, highlighting why we believe now is clearly the right time to be doing this”.
At HCVC, we are passionate advocates for transformative innovation at the nexus of health and food manufacturing. Numi stands as a prime example of this, with their technology poised to revolutionise accessibility to breastmilk for millions of women globally and advance human health in unprecedented ways. The duo of Eden and Eugénie make a very impressive team, and we are proud to be part of their journey.
As a pioneer of in vitro breast milk alternatives, Nūmi will be able, thanks to this €3 million in pre-seed funding, to further develop their solution and prepare future products, for the benefit of infants and all families.
Born as the venture capital arm of the Hardware Club community, HCVC has now invested in more than 50 companies in Europe and the United States including companies such as Span, Cowboy, Caper (acquired by Instacart), Radian Aerospace, Ark Biotech and Remedee Labs.