Flying SpArk, a Ramat Gan-based food-tech startup developing an alternative protein powder made from fruit flies, is the only Israeli company accepted into the first class of the IKEA Bootcamp startup accelerator.
More than 1,200 applicants from 86 countries vied for one of the 10 slots in the three-month business accelerator, which begins September 18 at the IKEA product development center in Älmhult, Sweden. All the startups are working to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Flying SpArk protein powders for humans will be extracted from the Mediterranean fruit fly. The company says that this sustainable source is high in protein, calcium, iron and potassium and is odorless and virtually cholesterol-free
“We are excited to join the IKEA accelerator and to have the opportunity to learn how to work with a giant retailer like IKEA,” said Eran Gronich, cofounder & CEO of Flying SpArk. “This will completely enhance our product development and how we progress. IKEA will mentor and work with our team toward eventual collaboration between the companies to develop a product and hopefully to launch it at IKEA’s restaurants.”
Gronich and cofounder Yoram Yerushalmi say that fruit-fly farming requires minimal water, human intervention and land. “This constitutes a forward-thinking and innovative way to help the world redress hunger and malnutrition,” said Gronich.
Growing interest in sustainable protein has driven strong support for Flying SpArk. The company raised $1 million with the help of the Israel Innovation Authority and The Kitchen, a food-tech incubator sponsored by the Strauss Group in Ashdod. Over the last 12 months, Flying SpArk has begun building up its infrastructure and technologies.
“Millennials want to create a more sustainable world, to make it a better place for all of us, and they are willing to add insect flour to their food to help achieve this goal,” said Gronich.