Merchant bank with pet industry focus increases investment in edible insects for dog and cat food products
Mississauga, Ontario – April 26, 2017. Dane Creek Capital Corp. (‘DCCC’ or the ‘Company’), a merchant banking venture that focuses on pet industry investments, is pleased to announce it has increased its stake in the Nova Scotia-based cricket producer Midgard Insect Farm Inc. (‘Midgard’) from 48% to 65%. The new funds will fuel ongoing research into crickets as an alternative and sustainable protein source for dog and cat food products, as well as new research into mealworms for the same purpose and cricket frass or ‘cricket manure’ as an agricultural soil amendment. Funding will also be allocated toward the development of Midgard’s second location, a 1,500 square foot research facility on the grounds of Nova Scotia’s non-profit agricultural accelerator Perennia in Bible Hill. Last, the investment will also be used to create a cricket-based line of Midgard pet treats for dogs to be showcased at the upcoming SuperZoo, a national pet industry tradeshow in Las Vegas this coming July 25 to 27.
Headquartered in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Midgard’s primary facility is focused on producing high quality cricket protein for wholesale to the pet food industry. Its second location in Bible Hill will be reserved primarily for scientific inquiry aimed at positioning Midgard as a leader in cricket cultivation and their use in pet food products. Midgard crickets are already a featured ingredient in the first generation of DCCC’s own Dockside brand of planet friendly pet treats, meal mixers, and meal toppers for dogs and cats, created exclusively from sustainable ingredients sourced in Nova Scotia, Canada. The planned research into mealworms presents a potential new source of sustainable protein for use in Dockside recipes.
“We are very pleased with the progress Midgard has made thus far,” says Mark Warren, Chairman and CEO of DCCC. “Our initial investment has already resulted in a substantial increase in cricket production capacity and a number of engineering innovations that have improved the efficiency of Midgard’s cultivation practices beyond traditional methods. This second capital injection will help take Midgard to the next stage of development and solidify its position at the forefront of a growing edible insect industry in Canada.”
Edible insects as an environmentally sustainable source of protein capable of feeding both people and animals have garnered significant media and business interest in both Canada and the United States in recent years. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, insect species such as the Gryllodes sigillatus cricket found at Midgard compare favourably to traditional livestock like cattle in terms of nutrition. They also require substantially less resources to produce and cause far less environmental damage from greenhouse gas emissions.
This environmental and nutritional potential coupled with an interest in food security is what led Dalhousie University graduate and current operator Joy Hillier to found Midgard. Through her partnership with DCCC, Hillier joins the ranks of women entrepreneurs closing the gender gap on securing capital investment in North America. Studies indicate only 10% of venture capital has been allotted to female founded startups spanning back to 2010 of which those in science and technology are particularly challenged.
“We have accomplished a huge amount of work in a very short time and this second investment from Dane Creek ensures we’ll be able to sustain that incredible momentum,” says Hillier, Founder and President at Midgard. “We’ve brought on five new staff members to oversee our healthy and growing cricket population and made great strides toward improving our operational efficiency. I am very excited to now be able to more fully explore the nutritional opportunities presented by crickets as well as mealworms and the agricultural opportunities in cricket frass.”
Contrary to what the name suggests, mealworms are not worms but actually the larval stage of the darkling beetle Tenebrio molitor. As an alternative food source they are nutritious insects composed of approximately 50% protein and 30% fat by dry weight. They are also a source of all the essential amino acids for dogs and cats, including taurine, and are higher in essential fatty acids and most vitamins when compared to beef. Similar to crickets, they are easy to farm on a large scale, require little space and have a short life cycle making them a significantly more sustainable source of protein than traditional sources like lamb, chicken, and beef.
As a byproduct of its primary activity raising insects for protein, Midgard has recently expanded its product offerings to include frass or ‘cricket manure’. As a soil inoculant, frass is high in beneficial bacteria and microbes which promote the health of soils and formation of compost. It is also uniquely high in chitin, the primary component of the exoskeleton of insects, which naturally stimulates the immune system of plants and promotes pest and disease resistance. Last, it is a natural bloom stimulant and balanced source of plant food. Available in wholesale and individual consumer quantities, Midgard cricket frass is currently marketed under the slogan: Plant food the way nature intended.
DCCC’s equity stake is held by Dockside Investco, its wholly owned holding company in Nova Scotia. Financial terms were not announced.
For more information about Midgard or to make a purchasing inquiry, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dane Creek Capital Corp.
With over 30 years of experience in the pet industry and an extensive network of industry professionals, we offer valuable financial and management support to up-and-coming companies in the companion animal sector through selective, strategic investments. Our investment horizon is long-term taking into account current trends and changes in pet owner demographics with a current focus on opportunities in pet food products sourced from sustainable ingredients, alternative models for veterinary care, biotechnology, pet insurance, pet hotels, and pet-related technological applications for pet owners.
For more information visit www.danecreekcap.com.
Chairman & CEO, Dane Creek Capital Corp.
1 (905) 581-7467
President & CFO, Dane Creek Capital Corp.
1 (905) 581-7412