>@In Ovo
© In Ovo
  • The EIB has signed a €40 million loan agreement with In Ovo for the 2023-2026 period, to scale-up the company’s “Ella” technology, which can prevent killing of day-old chicks.
  • The agreement was made possible with the support of the InvestEU programme, which aims to trigger over €372 billion in additional investment over the period 2021-2027.
  • In Ovo will also invest in a pipeline of further innovations set to improve animal welfare and sustainability in the poultry sector.

Dutch AgriTech innovator In Ovo has signed a €40 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank. The Leiden University spin-off aims to scale up its proprietary Ella® technology. In Ovo’s high-throughput screening machine can identify the sex of eggs at an early stage, allowing hatcheries to only hatch laying hens, and eliminating the need to cull male chicks directly after hatching. Worldwide, an estimated 6.5 billion male chicks are killed every year in the production of laying hens. The technology ultimately results in an egg production channel with higher animal welfare and lower CO2 emissions.

The EIB financing for the project is made possible with the support of the InvestEU programme, which aims to mobilise over €372 billion in additional investment for EU policy priorities over the period 2021-2027.

“In Ovo’s technology means an improvement in the field of animal welfare and sustainability of the poultry sector, which is a good match with the EIB’s overall priorities.” commented EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters. “We have supported several important innovations coming out of the Netherlands in recent years and aim to continue to do so, especially when it comes to such environmentally relevant technologies.”

“We are super excited and humbled to be receiving this prestigious and fantastic support from the EIB.” said In Ovo’s founder Wouter Bruins. “It will permit us to further develop our technology pipeline and become a worldwide player, positively impacting animals throughout the food production channel.”

Commissioner for the Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “Ensuring that Europe’s animal welfare standards are amongst the highest in the world is a priority for us. With this technology, we will be avoiding the systematic killing of millions of male chicks throughout the European Union. This is a major step in our work to strengthen animal welfare standards in our Union.”

In Ovo will invest the money in further improving the Ella technology and rolling-out more Ella machines. With this, In Ovo lowers the threshold for hatcheries to install an Ella machine and for markets to switch to a production system in which no day-old chicks have been culled. In addition to investing in Ella, the loan will accelerate the development of Eve – In Ovo’s new technological platform that improves animal health and welfare by optimising environmental aspects of the hatching process. Finally, In Ovo is working on a pipeline of other innovations to continuously improve the sustainability of the poultry sector.

Background information

Over the last five years, the European Investment Bank has financed over €10 billion worth of projects in the Netherlands.

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery. It also helps mobilise private investments for the European Union’s policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition. The InvestEU programme brings together under one roof the multitude of EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the European Union, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The programme consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners that will invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. The entire budget guarantee will back the investment projects of the implementing partners, increase their risk-bearing capacity and thus mobilise at least €372 billion in additional investment.

In Ovo, a Dutch AgTech scale-up is based in Leiden, which develops high-tech solutions to improve animal welfare and sustainability in the poultry sector. After nearly a decade of development, In Ovo's Ella® machine produced the first "Girls-only Chicks" in 2020. Since then, a much-improved Ella® machine has been developed with a larger capacity to meet the high production volumes of modern hatcheries. In addition to Ella®, In Ovo has a number of other innovations in the pipeline to further increase the impact.