YOKNEAM, ISRAEL – A foodtech startup that extracts functional proteins from bovine colostrum, Maolac recently completed a seed funding round that generated $3.2 million.

Per Maolac, the ingredients it sources from bovine colostrum, the nutrient-rich, milk-like fluid cows produce shortly after giving birth, are 95% equivalent to milk proteins in human breast milk. Those characteristics, Maolac added, make it possible for the ingredients to directly target specific functions through the bloodstream or gut.

The startup’s first product line will be what it describes as a “highly potent” anti-inflammatory product for humans. The target audience for the products will be athletes looking to reduce muscle strain and improve recovery time. Maolac shared that the debut line additionally will benefit older people who need support for active living and improved mobility.

Investment management firm OurCrowd led the funding round, with participation from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub founded by the Strauss Group, The Food Tech Lab, Ventures Israel, NAOMI Investments and Mediterranean Towers Ventures.

The seed funding will go toward a state-of-the-art facility with small-scale production capabilities, Maolac revealed. Inside the space, the foodtech company also will be able to create analytics and samples for customers and conduct clinical trials.

The Israeli startup uses the bovine colostrum from dairies – which otherwise would be discarded – to create its products, which boost immune systems and help balance digestive systems.

Maolac chief executive officer and co-founder Maya Ashkenazi-Otmazgin said the seed funding round will help the foodtech company disrupt the global immune-boosting market.

“The facility we'll be able to build will help introduce our human functional milk proteins into new segments and enable the product to target a variety of food products for daily consumption,” Ashkenazi-Otmazgin said.

The startup’s leadership stated it is working toward development agreements in both the food and supplement markets in Israel, as well as with dairy, ingredient and supplement companies worldwide.

A biomedical engineer, Ashkenazi-Otmazgin co-founded Maolac in 2018, along with immunity expert Dr. Ariel Orbach and Eli Lerner. Ashkenazi-Otmazgin said she was nursing her first child when she had the idea of bringing the health benefits that come in breast milk to a superfood that people of all ages could consume.

OurCrowd chief executive officer Jon Medved called Maolac’s process of repurposing bovine colostrum ingredients a “stroke of pure genius.”

“Billions of liters of bovine colostrum are discarded each year,” Medved said. “Maolac takes this waste and creates a product of huge potential benefit to millions at a time when the world is desperately searching for new sustainable sources of protein. The company is a perfect example of the circular economy in action."