Pioneering US Tech to Cut Methane From Cows Gets Kiwi Funding Boost

AgriZeroNZ, a joint venture of major New Zealand agribusiness companies and the government, is the lead investor in a US start-up developing probiotics and natural enzymes that reduces methane while improving cow health.

The JV has invested NZ$4.1 million into Hoofprint Biome, in Raleigh, North Carolina, in its pre-seed funding round to support the development of its probiotic into animal trial proof-of-concept stage.

Good Growth Capital and Ponderosa Ventures (member of Galvanize Climate Solutions) have also invested in the round.

Wayne McNee executive director of AgriZeroNZ, says the investment allows the JV to be involved from an early stage and drive development towards a solution for New Zealand farmers. 

“Hoofprint is developing novel technology with the potential to be a real breakthrough to help meet our country’s climate goals. We’re really pleased to be backing Hoofprint as the lead investor, and secure this opportunity for New Zealand farmers so they can be at the forefront of its future success,” McNee said.

Hoofprint Biome, a spin-out of NC State University, was founded by Dr. Kathryn Polkoff and Dr. Scott Collins. As two biotech entrepreneurs with backgrounds in animal agriculture, they saw the unique potential for microbiome engineering to benefit ruminant agriculture and tackle the climate crisis.

The pair had discovered enzymes that naturally reduce rumen methane emissions, and delivery of these patent-pending enzymes with probiotics will result in long-lasting efficacy.

Ingested as a supplement in a small dose, the Hoofprint probiotic aims to reduce enteric methane emissions by over 80% while simultaneously increasing milk and meat yield by over 5%.

Dr Polkoff, co-founder and CEO, said: “We’re bringing next-gen probiotics to ruminant agriculture in our mission to cut methane emissions while improving animal health and profitability. This investment offers a unique opportunity for Hoofprint to partner with New Zealand farmers, who have been leaders in sustainable agriculture, and to tackle the climate crisis together.”