Investment for Cano-ela: Start-up makes valuable ingredients from canola seeds

Dutch-based Cano-ela is developing an innovative technique to extract three food ingredients from rapeseed (also known as canola): oil, protein and fibre. From these ingredients, food producers can make innovative foodproducts. With funding from Vroegefasefinanciering (VFF) Gelderland, Cano-ela will conduct further market research and eventually set up a pilot plant. Oost NL manages VFF Gelderland, working closely with the AgriFoodTech accelerator, StartLife.


Cano-ela aims to make the best use of the canola seeds, eliminating waste streams while obtaining innovative and valuable ingredients from these seeds. "Canola seed has long been used to produce oil. The resulting by-products end up as waste or animal feed. In total, this makes it the largest protein-rich waste stream in the world. That is a terrible waste because this may not be the best way to process the seed as you can actually extract many other healthy ingredients from it," says Juliana Romero, Founder and CEO of the start-up.

Few processing steps required

Cano-ela has a process to separate three different food ingredients from the seed. Our process  extracts not only the oil from the seed, but also proteins and carbohydrates.. Romero explains: "Our extraction technique has few processing steps. Everything starts by soaking the seeds and then they go through mild processing steps, we fractionate the whole seed into three different ingredients. This is a gentle process that preserves good properties from the seed. Those valuable properties improve the taste, texture and sustainability of plant-based foods as well as meat or dairy alternatives."

Funding for exciting stage

Vroegefasefinanciering (Early Stage Funding) Gelderland aims to support ambitious entrepreneurs in the development of the Proof-of-Concept phase, the phase Cano-ela is now in. Romero is therefore pleased with this new step in the start-up's development: "The funding enables us to conduct extensive research into the match between product and market. This includes conducting trials with potential customers in different phases. We are also working towards a pilot plant to scale up our production. In this respect, StartLife and Oost NL are valuable partners who also help us focus on the business case." Cano-ela was one of the participants in a successful trade mission to Canada and took part in the programme De Groeiversneller. It was a successful participant of StartLife Accelerate, a program designed for early-stage startups in 2021. Interestingly, Cano-ela also found their Chief Commercial Officer in Benjamin Maclean, one of StartLife’s mentors.

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Lise van den Bosch, investment manager Food at Oost NL: "Cano-ela's technology fits well with the increasing demand for alternative proteins and sustainable food products with a clean label - a product without unnatural food additives. The validation phase coming up now is exciting, but Cano-ela has a strong plan and a driven team. It is great that we can support Cano-ela from VFF Gelderland to make their technology market-ready."

VFF Gelderland

With a loan from VFF Gelderland, start-ups investigate the extent to which their technical concept matches interest in the market. The Proof-of-concept fund VFF Gelderland focuses on entrepreneurs who contribute to solutions for social issues. VFF Gelderland is an instrument for innovative entrepreneurs financed by the province of Gelderland and the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemers.

Oost NL manages the fund, collaborating with local initiatives for startups within their sectors: StartLife focused on the AgriFoodTech sector, Briskr focused on the life sciences, health and high-tech sectors and Orion focused on the energy, creative and ICT/smart industry/AI sectors.