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Beta Hatch founder and CEO Virginia Emery with her winnings at the Flywheel Investment Conference in Wenatchee, Wash. (Flywheel Photo via JP Portrait Studio)

Beta Hatch, the insect-growing startup that is looking to move away from the Seattle area and scale its business near Wenatchee, Wash., got more help in achieving that goal when it took home the top prize at that city’s Flywheel Investment Conference.

Beta Hatch and founder Virginia Emery were awarded $135,000 — $105,000 investment award, $25,000 in funding, and a $5,000 cash prize — during the event last month. GeekWire profiled the company, at its current location in SeaTac, last November.

Emery started Beta Hatch three years ago as an answer to the high cost of feeding animals. She raises mealworms as an alternative protein source and hopes to upend the agriculture industry through a combination of her science and entrepreneurial skills.

The plan is to relocate to the Wenatchee area in central Washington this summer in search of a lower cost of doing business and a better lifestyle for employees.

“Although a small part of the overall investment we need to reach scale, the Flywheel group represents the interests of our new community and the connections built with that new community are invaluable,” Emery said in a news release. “We are very excited to move to Wenatchee where the land, labor and energy will all be more affordable for our business.”

In Chelan County, where Beta Hatch is gearing up to build its first commercial flagship facility, electricity can be as cheap as 3¢/kWh. The facility expects to produce 1 ton of insect biomass daily, and according to the release, Beta Hatch will also use waste heat from an adjacent data center to fuel its insect production and further reduce energy use.

Beta Hatch has already raised $4.8 million via grants and investment from companies like Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis.

(Flywheel Photo via JP Portrait Studio)
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