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Bill Gates-Led Fund Invests in Synthetic Palm Oil Startup

C16 Biosciences uses yeast to convert food waste and industrial byproducts into a sustainable alternative.

Palm oil trees grow in Borneo, Indonesia.
Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, helmed by Bill Gates, is leading an investment round of $20 million for C16 Biosciences, a New York-based startup, which is working on making sustainable alternatives for palm oil.

The three-year-old startup uses microbes to convert food waste and industrial byproducts into synthetic palm oil, which it claims can replace the plant-derived version. The investment will be used to grow the team and scale up the technology. It’s one of a growing number of startups working on developing alternatives.