Singapore-based Biotech Startup TurtleTree Labs Raises Funding in Lever VC-led Pre-Seed Funding Round

Singapore-based TurtleTree Labs, a biotech startup that aims to disrupt the multi-billion dollar dairy industry by recreating real, full milk via the latest advancements in biotechnology, has secured an undisclosed sum of funding from its pre-seed funding round. The financing round was led by Lever VC, a United States-Hong Kong early stage venture capital fund founded by Nick Cooney with a focus in alternative protein companies. Other participating investors include K2 Global, a venture capital firm with a focus in late stage technology companies, and KBW Ventures, an asset management company founded by HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud that focuses primarily on value creation, venture capital and growth equity. According to Max Rye, chief strategist at TurtleTree Labs, the undisclosed funding will enable the biotech startup to accelerate the growth and development of its scientific team, as well as to further build and develop more prototypes of its cultivated milk products.

TurtleTree Labs was co-founded by Max Rye, who is the startup’s chief strategist, alongside Rabail Toor, the company’s chief scientist officer, and its chief executive officer Fengru Lin. One of the startup’s aims is to reduce the Earth’s carbon footprint by reducing the need for livestock such as milk-producing cows, which are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions as they produce methane, which is twenty five times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Another important thing that the startup hopes to achieve is to make nutritious, high quality milk more readily accessible to people across the world. Towards that end, TurtleTree Labs has innovated its very own proprietary biotechnology that utilizes mammary cells to recreate real milk inside a hygienic laboratory setting.

The startup claims that their lab-created milk is just as good as the real thing, having the same taste, full composition and functionality of cow’s milk. While there are indeed plant-based alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk and even rice milk, these milk alternatives just do not possess the same functionalities and taste of real milk. What’s more, milk alternatives cannot be used to make standard dairy products such as yoghurt, butter and cheese, which all require animal milk or cow milk to produce. Milk alternatives also require a vast amount of resources such as arable land and water, and they are also emission-producers that can adversely affect the environment.

Prince Khaled said that KBW Ventures’ investment in TurtleTree Labs is a long term one, with the aim of addressing one of Earth’s most pressing concerns, that of its current climate crisis. The Prince notes that innovative biotech startups and companies such as TurtleTree Labs can play a crucial role in bolstering the sustainability of the planet by coming up with new solutions and products that consume less natural resources besides leaving less of an impact on the environment.

TurtleTree Labs, the innovative biotech startup that is recreating full milk from mammary cells in labs, is planning to launch its cultivated milk products sometime later this year. According to Fengru Lin, the startup believes that their proprietary technology-developed cultivated milk has a real shot at disrupting the multi-billion dollar milk industry and bring about significant change in the diary landscape.

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Derek Tan

Derek is the news editor at Absolute Market, a news media focusing on the Southeast Asian tech and startup scene. Contact him at derek [at] for any news pitch.