Israeli startup aims to make splash with fermentation technology

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fermentation

Israeli startup aims to make splash with fermentation technology
A group of Israeli veterans of the dietary ingredient wars have come together to form a new company focused on cutting edge fermentation technologies.

Called NextFerm​, the company brings together many of the former leading lights of Enzymotec, a lipid ingredients specialty firm. Included in the executive suite are Boaz Noy, former VP of bioactive ingredients, and Elzaphan Hotam, VP of global marketing for the new firm who was once CEO of Enzymotec USA.

“I have the privilege of working with people I respect and know well,” ​Hotam told NutraIngredients-USA. “We are all 10 or 15 years older, with more experience, so I think this could be the foundation of something that could be even greater than Enzymotec was.”

Unique platform

Hotam said NextFerm would focus on developing new ingredients from fermentation. The company, which started up in 2015, is focusing on two different kinds of yeasts as its fermenting organisms.

Hotam said the expertise comes in with how the organisms are manipulated to produce the desired bioactives. This amounts to a carefully calibrated program of subjecting the organisms to stressful conditions and selecting the best performing individuals from successive generations.  

“At the core we have the ability to select the in this case yeast from nature, and perform some environmental stressors that would allow the selection of the right offspring. The way we do this is unique to us,” ​Hotam said.

“We don’t do genetic manipulations other than what would still qualify us as non GM,”​ he said.

Experience and vision sets startup apart

Hotam said the company is still keeping much under wraps for proprietary reasons and hopes to have more of a story to tell in time for the Expo West Trade Show in the fall in Las Vegas.

In the meantime, Hotam said the story of the company, which now has as many as 24 employees, tells investors that this is not just any startup.

“The organizing idea is to create and develop novel or better-than ingredients, all coming from a unique process of fermentation. And we have all the science and regulatory compliance expertise necessary to achieve those goals,”​ he said.

“We don’t think the established fermentation players see their job to become innovators in the market. They see their role as one of meeting demand for established ingredients. This is something that sets us apart. We don’t see ourselves as another generic player,” ​Hotam said.

“We come from a background of a team that has done real stuff,”​ he said. “We aren’t just telling a story to get some venture capitalists excited about whatever.”

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