A Singapore-based start-up, TurtleTree Labs has been able to successfully make milk in a lab without the use of cows. It not only looks just like milk but also tastes the same. This biotech start up impressed the judges of the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2020 and also bagged the first position and walked away with the top cash prize of US$500,000 (S$678,000).
TurtleTree Labs was founded by Lin Fengru and Max Rye last year. Their start-up uses cell-based methods to make milk without the need for animals, while retaining the same composition and taste. The process includes extraction of fresh cells from the milk of cows and exposing them to a special formula which makes them lactate. By the end of the process, milk is obtained through a filtration process.
Co-founder Lin Fengru said, “We’re proud to represent Singapore on the world stage. Winning this competition highlights the importance of sustainable food production, and the support from the community around such technologies.”
“The population of our planet is only going to grow, and we need to continue to innovate to provide better nutrition for everyone in a sustainable fashion. Such cell-based foods could be a solution to the issues of heavy land use, energy and water consumption that are associated with traditional dairy farming,” she added.
Lin said that the prize money will help in research and development activities, such as finding new ways to extract biologically active components in milk that have health benefits.
The Entrepreneurship World Cup attracted 1,75,000 participants from 20 countries across the world. It was a virtual competition and each participant had to present their start-up plan to the judges. After this, the winner was selected by audience voting and the decision of judges.
The event was hosted by the Riyadh-based Misk Global Forum on Oct 19. The forum is a flagship event of a non-profit foundation set up by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.