Beta Hatch wins top Flywheel prize, $185,000 in funding

Virginia Emery, founder and CEO of Beta Hatch, won $185,000 in investment funds for her presentation at the Flywheel Investment Conference in April. Her company is opening a flagship production facility in the former Tree Top factory in Cashmere.

CASHMERE — Beta Hatch, the startup that raises insects for use as sustainable animal feed, will build its flagship production facility in the former Tree Top factory in Cashmere, CEO Virginia Emery said in an email Thursday.

The facility will use waste heat from a nearby data center to help grow mealworms, a variety of beetle larva, according to a press release. Once the mealworms are mature, they’re dried and sold for poultry and fish food.

Construction on the facility is expected to start in October and will likely conclude next year.

The Seattle-based company originally announced in April its intention to move to Cashmere, but didn’t specify the location until this week when its lease was finalized.

The building was home to Tree Top Inc. for 50 years before operations stopped in 2008. The 18-acre property, which includes several nearby structures, was purchased for $5 million in 2010 by Yakima-based Cashmere Investments LLC.

Beta Hatch has raised $2.95 million in federal funding that will support the development of this new facility, according to the release.

The company also took home top honors — and $185,000 in funding — at Wenatchee’s Flywheel Investment Conference in April.

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