TurtleTree cell-based milk start-up gets global investors

The Singapore early-stage business has secured fresh capital from Green Monday Ventures, KBW Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures

By Murielle Gonzalez

TurtleTree Labs founders Max Rye and Fengru Lin
TurtleTree Labs founders Max Rye and Fengru Lin

TurtleTree Labs has announced the completion of a financing round from global investors, including Green Monday Ventures, KBW Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures. Based in Singapore, TurtleTree Labs is the world’s first-cell-based biotechnology company creating animal-free milk by using mammalian cells.

The company was founded by Max Rye and Fengru Lin, who acts as chief executive. The company’s focus is on high-value human breast milk followed by cow milk.

“Food-tech innovation in Asia is way overdue,” said David Yeung, founder, Green Monday Group. “If the rapidly deteriorating climate change situation isn’t enough to convince the world, the pandemic surely hammers home the urgency that we need to overhaul the food system for the sake of public health, food safety, and food security,” he added.

Yeung explained that’s the reason Green Monday Ventures decided to invest in and collaborate with TurtleTree Labs. “We see immense possibilities in their biotech innovation platform, as well as enormous impact we can drive together.”

TurtleTree Labs raised its initial investment in 2019, which was led by New York–Hong Kong-based Lever VC with investors from various geographies.

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, founder and chief executive of KBW Ventures, said the firm joined the round building on the initial commitment during TurtleTree’s pre-seed round.

“We see the founding team commitment and the potential of this company and its technology as a winning combination,” he says. “Now more than ever, people are waking up to the benefits of food technology and the massive positive implications of innovations in cellular agriculture.”

Rye said this fresh round of funding will enhance the company’s scale-up development, “bringing us one step closer to commercialisation.”

Singaporean high-tech

Over the past year, TurtleTree Labs has attracted a team of more than 20 full-time scientists and engineers.

With support from the Singaporean government, the start-up has been privy to an array of resources that provided TurtleTree Labs with a financial boost, enabling it to continue working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rye, who is originally from the San Francisco Bay area, commented: “Our teams are firing on all cylinders thanks to Enterprise Singapore and the support from our investors. We remain as focused as ever, and we aim to continue hitting milestones.”