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INSIGHTS / INTERVIEWS

From real estate to rearing insects for food: Magalarva's way to a sustainable future

Indonesia · Jun 27, 2019· By Putu Agung Wija Putera

The Magalarva core team © Magalarva

The Indonesian animal-feed startup is already using insects to replace fishmeal and has new funding to grow further

Working with trash sounds like unsavoury business, and working with bug larvae even more so. For Magalarva, however, it’s an opportunity to save the environment and make money at the same time.

The startup, which grows insect larvae to be used as a protein source in animal feed, raised US$500,000 in seed funding this June from an unnamed multinational. Magalarva plans to use the monies to start full-scale operations at a new facility, increasing their output 15-fold. 

“We expect to be profitable in less than a year,” CEO and co-founder Rendria Labde told CompassList in an interview. “We're talking to many players who are willing to pay a premium for our products.”

From its pilot facility at Parung, West Java, Magalarva is already selling larvae and fertilizer made from larva droppings to manufacturers of animal feed and to farmers. The company is generating revenue, but also “still investing heavily in R&D to find the path to profitability,” said Rendria. 

Unusual career, unusual pivot 

Magalarva was originally a real estate development company named Magale. It was founded in 2015 by high-school friends Rendria Labde, Karaeng Adjie and Xandega Tahajuansya. Rendria and Karaeng were trained as engineers, while Xandega was a PR graduate. Arunee Sarasetsiri, an architect and another longtime friend of Rendria’s, provided the much-needed expertise to design the company's houses with eco-friendly features. 

Edited by Matt Stanley

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