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Saturday 21 May 2022

NZ foodtech startup lands $1.25m from Pacific Channel VC

13th May 2022 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

A Christchurch foodtech startup has landed $1.25m of venture capital funding to scale-up a unique oil extraction technology that it says could be a “game-changer” for F&B manufacturers.

Natural Extraction Technologies’ Ron Park

Auckland-based deep tech venture capital fund Pacific Channel has backed the proprietary technology developed by entrepreneur Ron Park’s research company, Natural Extraction Technologies, which is now ready to move from the lab to a pilot plant.

“We’ve successfully proven the technology in the lab and with this capital we will prove the technology at scale, in a real-world environment, which is a significant step towards commercialisation,” Park said.

The aim of the pilot plant was to demonstrate how the technology could improve the manufacturing processes currently used to extract essential oils. This included improving efficiency, increasing yields from 45% to 95%, and reducing ingredient wastage.

Park originally developed the technology to improve the sub-par extraction process being used at his other ventures, natural health supplement company Korure, and sister company pet food supplements maker Korure Pets, but licensing the tech could see it used by manufacturers across the globe.

Natural Extraction Technologies had lined up its first two New Zealand partners, a green-lipped mussel company and a cannabis manufacturer, who planned to implement the technology into their existing processes, with the data expected to be available later this year.

Park at his natural health supplement company, Korure.

Park said the company would also be exploring additional uses which may include turning agricultural waste, such as grapevine leaves, into dietary supplements like vegan protein and omega 3 & 6 oils; or realising value from waste-stream fruits, such as blackcurrants and kiwifruit, by extracting oils for new supplements.

The technology was developed so that it could replace the existing extraction method in its entirety, or parts can be installed throughout the process.

It was designed to remove the energy-intensive steps, including freeze-drying and CO2 extraction, and reduce up to 50% of the desired ingredient wastage resulting from these steps.

Park said he was also interested in the potential of the technology for the US edible cannabis market, and should the scale-up in New Zealand prove successful, planned to target US investors for a US$20m seed round.

Pacific Channel partner Kieran Jina said that if successful, the new process would offer manufacturers a “distinct competitive advantage” through its increased yields and enhanced purity levels.

“This technology is innovative and capable of being a game-changer for supplement and cannabis manufacturers reliant on extracting essential oils,” Jina said.

“Our investment recognises the capabilities of the team and the broad application of the technology across many manufacturing processes.” 



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