Robert Downey Jr’s Backing the World’s Largest Insect Farm

Last October, the French insect-farming startup Ÿnsect announced it had raised $372 million, hugely ramping up the nascent and niche edible insect industry, and accelerating the company’s plans for large-scale production in the U.S. The investments even had a touch of Hollywood stardom: Robert Downey Jr.’s eco-focused FootPrint Coalition invested $224 million in debt and equity into the startup. Footprint Coalition was formed in 2019 with a goal of cleaning up the planet by using robotics and technology and Downey Jr. hope is to make a significant dent in combatting the climate crisis.

“I dig it,” Downey said on the his fund’s site, announcing his investment in the company. “Ÿnsect’s process produces no waste and complies with the U.N.’s sustainability goals.”

The new capital will fund the completion of the largest insect farm in the world, due to open in the city of Amiens, north of Paris, France, in early 2022. Ÿnsect breeds the larvae of the Tenebrio Molitor beetle inside a vertical factory, which Hubert opened in 2016, in a modest-sized industrial building in Dole, a town in eastern France near the Swiss border.

Past Downey other investments in start ups include MasterClass, a site that offers interactive and video courses taught by big names including athletes, actors and singers. Plus this September, he joined other celebrities in investing in Cloud Paper, a new eco-friendly toilet paper brand, that is a startup founded by Uber ex-employees Ryan Fritsch and Austin Watkins. Other A-List company backers include Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and businessmen Mark Cuban, and Marc Benioff.

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