27 May aOva Technologies seeks to raise $3 million in angel capital
Madison, Wis. – aOva Technologies, an agricultural-biotechnology company that develops egg protein products used in animal nutrition, has begun another round of financing in which it hopes to raise more than $3 million.
Bryan Renk, president and chief executive officer of aOva, confirmed that its latest round of fund-raising began May 15. The company, which plans to conclude the round in 60 days with an option to add 60 days, has made formal presentations to shareholders – all angel investors – and has talked to representatives of venture capital firms and strategic investment firms.
In 2006, the company raised $3 million from angel investors to expand the customer base for its line of antibody egg products, which are designed to improve feed efficiency and agricultural animal growth. This time, aOva plans to use the capital to expand production, which is handled by feed manufacturers.
“Our production is outsourced, so for us the funding offers the ability to produce more of the product that is outsourced [for manufacturing],” Renk explained. “We need more capital to do that.”
Renk said the company has expanded its geographic reach into Asia and South America, and it has expanded its customer base from poultry, pork, and beef into aqua culture, including rainbow trout, Atlantic Salmon, and other species of fish.
“Aqua culture has turned into a potentially big market for us,” he said.
The company, located in the Technology, Education, and Commerce (TEC) Center on Madison’s east side, has thousands of hens that lay eggs to produce the powder used in its antibody products. The products are used as ingredients in animal feed to improve the growth rates of animals raised for food.
According to Renk, the immune systems of animals are built to withstand the wild, not production facilities. The stress from the production environment can result in a loss of appetite and muscle mass, and since the stress pathways in animals are similar, the company’s products have had a good response across species, Renk said.
aOva’s antibody products are based on technology developed by founder Mark Cook of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cook, a Ph.D., began looking into animal consumption of grain when most of the attention was focused on the efficiency of grain used directly in human diets.
aOva has partnered with companies like VitaPlus Corp., a feed supplier to livestock producers, and it now is working to close a couple of large contracts for its egg protein product, Renk said.
The privately owned company does not report annual revenue, but has six employees and hopes to add two or three workers in the near future, he added.
• Summer venture investments total $18 million for Wisconsin start ups
• aOva Technologies raises $3 million