Investment Notes: Goterra

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December 6, 2023

We are thrilled to announce our investment in Goterra, an Australian Climate Tech company transforming food waste management for the benefit of the planet... with maggots.

We participated in the Canberra-based startup's Pre-Series B funding round via our Investible Climate Tech Fund. This round included participation from Tenacious Ventures, Rampersand and more, and is focused on enabling Goterra to meet the incredible demand for their solution. In the short period of time since the fundraise, Goterra has unveiled Queensland’s first insect-powered waste management solution in the Howard Smith Wharves precinct.

Globally, approximately one-third of food produced annually ends up as waste. In Australia, this waste contributes significantly to total methane emissions, imposing an estimated $36.6 billion cost on the Australian economy.

Solving this is easier said than done - the logistics behind, and management of food waste, is a very challenging process. Pairing this up with contamination, and broad distribution, means that the majority of organic food waste currently ends up in landfill where it rots and produces methane emissions equivalent to approximately 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This figure equates to ~3% of the country's annual GHG emissions, this is no small feat.

Goterra is an Australian Climate Tech company disrupting food waste management for the benefit of the planet. Goterra’s ambition is to create a future where nature and automation work in tandem to solve the food waste and climate crisis.

To achieve this, Goterra have developed their proprietary robotic, software and insect solution known as a Modular Infrastructure for Biological Services (or, MIBS). In a nutshell (or puparium – our maggot lovers might get the joke), MIBS are a revolutionary innovation that uses insects to process food / organic waste. In just 12 days, black soldier fly (BSF) larvae convert food waste into two revenue generating outputs (1) value fertiliser (or frass) and (2) insect protein, providing a comprehensive, near-zero solution.  

Goterra's Modular Infrastructure for Biological Services (or, MIBS)

The waste units (the blue shipping container units shown in the image below) fit into customers’ existing waste infrastructure, making it accessible with minimal implementation lead time. If you find yourself in one of the Barangaroo towers, you will be above one of Goterra's decentralised MIBS that processes over 10 tonnes of food waste per month!

Goterra's near-zero food waste solution process

In these investment notes, we will discuss our thesis behind our investment in Goterra.

Regulatory tailwinds and growing market opportunities driving better economics over time.

Globally, food waste contributes to 8% of GHG emissions (3 times that of the airline industry), equating to $940 billion for the global economy. By 2030, it is predicted that this number will rise by another third. Not only does demand for waste management increase, but so does the need for greater fertiliser to keep up with growing production demands, presenting an exciting multi-revenue stream for the startup. The Insect Protein Market, valued at $249.9 million in 2020, is expected to grow at a 27.4% CAGR from 2021 to 2028. These markets offer sustainable solutions to food waste challenges.

This includes the ongoing annual increase of waste to landfill, resulting in an ability for Goterra to charge in lockstep with these increases. In addition, the fast-growing market potential of their offtake (frass and insect protein) make this an exciting, multi-revenue stream company.

Founder and team:

A strong team, led by a fantastic founder and ACT Australian of the Year 2023 recipient, Olympia Yarger. Olympia has experience across a variety of relevant sectors, including a background in communications and marketing, digital strategy and brand development, and she is highly connected across Australian AgriTech, investment and waste sectors.

Further to this, Olympia has proven her ability to grow a well-rounded team fit for the cause. Recent hires include, Volant Wills with a background in commercial BSF facilities at Inseco.

Market traction

Goterra has already secured long term commercial contracts with a number of key enterprise customers in Australia including Woolworths, Lendlease and Cleanaway. Unsurprisingly, the MIBS technology has become an integral elementof its users’ waste targets.

“We’ve set ourselves a target that we’ll have zero food waste going to landfill by 2025. Goterra is a key element of achieving that outcome" - Peter Bruce, Head of Woolworths 360.

With a strong pipeline and strategy for waste management customer acquisition – Goterra is poised for significant growth in coming years, with plans to penetrate international markets including SEA, US, and NZ.

Currently, the acquisition and partnership strategy can be segmented by three core market avenues:

  1. Supermarket retail
  2. Existing waste distributors
  3. Local and regional councils

Goterra is an innovative full-circle solution to a growing environmental problem. Led by a talented and driven leader, we look forward to supporting Goterra’s journey ahead.

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