Toronto, Canada-based startup Terra Bioindustries is raising a seed round to support small-scale commercial production of a mild-tasting barley protein concentrate and fermentable sugars from upcycled spent grains.

While brewing giant AB InBev has a subsidiary (EverGrain Ingredients) that extracts protein from its spent grains, most brewers still see the protein- and fiber-packed sticky slurry as waste, and rely on farmers to pick it up and use it as animal feed, says Terra cofounder Steve George.

“Today around 70% of spent grain goes to animal feed, 20% goes to landfill, around 9% goes to composting, and less than 1% is alternate use [such as upcycling it into value-added products for human food],” he tells AgFunderNews. “So there’s a huge opportunity out there, regardless of who else is out there [such as EverGrain].”