Meet Maolac: a foodtech startup that uses colostrum in a completely innovative manner
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Maolac is a unique foodtech startup in the field of biofunctional ingredients that uses colostrum in a completely innovative manner. The functional foods trend in food tech is one of the highest predictive growth trends.
Maolac - the Technology
At first, Maolac takes the liquid colostrum of the first 4 days of milking, identifies and separates the homogeneous proteins (those that are 95% similar to breast milk proteins), about 400 in number out of a few thousand, and throws away other proteins and ingredients in the calf colostrum.
In the second phase, Maolac’s smart algorithm looks for protein combinations within the 400 homogeneous proteins - which put together, are designed to have the highest effect for a particular function.
It does this by reviewing tens of thousands of professional science literatures looking for synergistic combinations.
Once a strong combination of several synergistic proteins is found, which put together are designed to to have the highest efficacy rate for a particular functionality, Maolac proceeds with a colostrum enrichment process - in which it throws out all the other proteins, antibiotics, and other ingredients within the colostrum and enriches the compound with this protein combination of few homogeneous proteins until the compound is 70% -80% concentrated with the designated protein formulation.
The compound is dried in a relatively cheap process, because it is activated in advance, and in effect turns into a powder that can be added to food, food supplements, dermo-cosmetics, baby formulas, and finally to pharmaceutical products. The results - according to initial experiments - are so strong that its efficacy rate is AS HIGH AS THOSE OF PHARMACEUTICAL products (i.e. FDA approved chemical dedicated drugs) and far beyond solutions like dietary supplements or colostrum AS IS that are currently sold in the market.
The first three function-specific formulas that the company intends to release are:
Strengthening of the overall immune system
Strengthening of the intestinal immune system
Anti-inflammatory (intended for initial marketing to the athlete market)
Maolac’s horizon enables it to develop and produce many other products/formulas using this existing technology. The company will be able to be competitive in terms of price even though it brings much stronger results in terms of functionality.
The company filed a very broad and strong PCT patent application that allows any of its formulas to be produced by this process to be included under the patent, and on the other hand, anyone who will want to produce biofunctional mixtures from colostrum in the future to fall under the patent.
The company received a positive opinion from the examiner - not only did he not see prior art but also sees significant inventive progress and said there is a very reasonable chance that the broadest claims will also be accepted. This thing of course requires in-depth examination.
The company received a grant from the Israeli Chief Scientist, was accepted to the Kitchen Hub (the most prestigious food tech accelerator in Israel, the one Better Juice grew up in), and to the EIT (Europe’s leading food innovation initiative).
Why am I personally enthusiastic about Maolac?
Beyond the technology that seems interesting, innovative as well as deep, there are three point I think can be indicative of a winning story:
The first and most powerful indication is the story of Maolac’s collaboration from day one with BaEmek Technologies - the technology subsidiary 100% owned by Tnuva. Tnuva is one of the two powerful food duopoly conglomerates in Israel. It controls the majority market share in all dairy-related products. As a result of this collaboration: Tnuva proceeded to invest the entire current seed round (i.e. $ 2 million) by itself - that is, to invest exclusively in the company. Their antitrust attorney prevented Tnuva from entering into the investment deal out of future evidence that they would have a problem with the antitrust commissioner when selling the Maolac products. Explanation: The food industry in Israel is a duopoly consisting of Tnuva and Strauss. Since Strauss is the owner of “The Kitchen hub”, the food accelerator Maolac is in, in effect, this would mean that Maolac will be owned by this duopoly jointly. Since the capital investment was prevented for legal reasons, in order for Tnuva to obtain the most out of Maolac’s products, it was agreed that BaEmek Technologies will continue to develop the products together with Maolac for 5% options according to a vesting schedule, furthermore, it will enter into negotiations for an MOU for a royalty agreement. This negotiation is currently in full power. Tnuva is proposing to produce and sell Maolac’s three initial products and pay Maolac an amount of up to NIS 14 million annually (for up to a certain number of sales). Above a certain sales threshold, Maolac and Tnuva will be given the right to re-negotiate the level of royalties. It should be noted that Tnuva tried to strive for a royalty deal of up to NIS 10 million without ANY additions - and quickly improved its offer as soon as the entrepreneur said she would not agree to it. Very quickly, without any further need of negotiation on Maolac’s part. To me, this indicates that a food conglomerate like Tnuva, fully understanding this effective technology for adding claims to food - cannot afford to stay out of the game.
The entrepreneur is one of the most impressive women I have ever met. She is a clear authority in the field (degree in biochemistry and pharmaceuticals) - understands inside and out both the biological and business aspects of her technology and company. But what is more impressive is her personality. She has a clear vision, she is very strong, and in my eyes is extremely suited to lead a successful venture. After sitting for 5 hours together with her, I am not at all surprised she was selected for Forbes' 30 under 30. When you meet her you will understand. The team also includes a professor of immunology from the Technion (the Israeli “MIT”) whom I have not met yet and two more people.