TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israeli startup Imagindairy, Ltd. is creating animal-free dairy proteins through precision fermentation.

The company’s proprietary technology recreates nature-identical, animal-free versions of whey and casein proteins that may be used to produce dairy analogues. With the flavor, texture, functionality and nutritional value of their animal-based counterparts, the proteins open up new opportunities to develop a full range of non-dairy products that mimic dairy versions but contain no cholesterol or GMOs, said Eyal Afergan, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Imagindairy.

“Our microflora-based production method was inspired by nature to recreate these proteins,” he said.  “The unique protein structure of dairy milk is what provides its characteristic texture, flavor and nutritional value. Whey is a key source of highly biologically available protein. Imagindairy’s animal-free dairy products boast the same complement of nutrients, from protein content to mineral composition, including calcium.”

The company was co-founded by a multidisciplinary team of experts in microbiology, computational systems and biotechnology with the support of Israel-based The Kitchen FoodTech hub. The team is led by Mr. Afergan along with Arie Abo, PhD, a specialist in protein biochemistry, and Tamir Tuller, PhD, a professor at Tel Aviv University.

The startup kicked off operations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, building its first applications lab in the home kitchen of one of its employees. It already has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, led by The Kitchen FoodTech hub, with participation from the Israeli Innovative Authority, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital and Entrée Capital, and will soon enter its A-round funding series.