altM is Omnivore’s fourth investment under its OmniX Bio initiative, which was set up in 2021 to back early stage agrifood life science startups
altM uses lignocellulosic agricultural residues as their raw material to produce advanced materials as alternatives to unsustainable incumbents
According to government statistics, India has more than 6,000 biotech startups, with the government expecting the sector to reach $150 Bn in size by 2025
Biomaterials startup altM has secured a $3.5 Mn seed funding round led by Omnivore, with participation from Theia Ventures, Thai Wah Ventures, Sanjiv Rangrass, Neha Mudaliar, Maninder Gulati (OYO), Mirik Gogri (Spectrum Impact) and Paula Mariwala (Aureolis Ventures).
altM is Omnivore’s fourth investment under its OmniX Bio initiative, which was set up in 2021 to back early stage agrifood life science startups.
The startup, founded in 2022 by Apoorv Garg and Yugal Raj Jain, both ex-Tesla employees, aims to develop and manufacture sustainable materials from agricultural residue to help companies reduce their carbon footprints and increase circularity in their supply chains.
Apoorv Garg, CEO and cofounder at altM, said, “The scale-up of technology from a laboratory bench to commercial production is not a trivial undertaking. Production scale-up is often the death valley for biotech startups. Our focus on go-to-market strategy, execution, and production scale-up will be the differentiator to most endeavours we see in the world of biomaterials today.”
altM uses lignocellulosic agricultural residues as their raw material to produce advanced materials as alternatives to unsustainable incumbents. Lignocellulosic residue refers to dry plant residue and includes wheat, rice, barley straw, corn stover, sorghum stalks, coconut husks, sugarcane bagasse and banana leaves, among others.
Given its sustainability potential and functional properties, lignocellulosic residue can be used to develop materials such as paper, biofuels and polymers, among other classes of usable chemicals.
Mark Kahn, managing partner at Omnivore, said, “With Apoorv and Yugal’s background in manufacturing excellence, altM’s entry into industrial alternative materials will hasten the global shift towards sustainability and circularity. Omnivore is very excited to be a part of their journey as we kick off our new fund.”
According to government statistics, India has more than 6,000 biotech startups. Earlier this year, Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh termed biotech startups crucial to shaping India’s future economy.
Singh added that the country’s bioeconomy has witnessed significant growth in the past few years, increasing from $8 Bn in 2014 to $100 Bn currently. He also expressed confidence that the sector will continue to flourish and will reach the $150 Bn mark by 2025.
The Centre has also undertaken a slew of measures to strengthen India’s biotech sector and promote biotech startups.
Last year, the government launched a single-window national portal for startups and researchers seeking regulatory clearance for biological research. In August 2022, the government also announced 75 ‘Amrit’ grants for collaborative biotech initiatives involving startups and academia.
Besides, BIRAC also offers grants of up to INR 50 Lakhs, under the BIG Scheme, for budding biotech startups to validate their ideas, develop prototypes and establish proof of concept.