Cargill, Bill Gates and Richard Branson are among the backers of US ‘clean meat’ company Memphis Meats, which has completed a $17 million fundraising round.
The round was led by venture capital firm DFJ, with further financial support from Atomico, New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Suzy and Jack Welch, Kyle Vogt, and Kimbal Musk.
San Francisco-based Memphis Meats produces beef, chicken and duck from animal cells. The company grows meat in tanks by feeding sugar, oxygen and nutrients to living cells. It has now raised a total of $22 million.
Memphis Meats plans to use the funds to continue developing products, to accelerate its work in scaling up clean meat production, and to reduce production costs to levels comparable to – and ultimately below – conventional meat costs.
The company expects to quadruple its headcount, and has already begun growing its team of chefs and scientists.
CEO of Memphis Meats Uma Valeti said the company aims to bring meat to consumers in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way.
“Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world,” he said. “We want the world to keep eating what it loves. However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health.
“These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”
President of growth ventures at Cargill Protein Sonya McCullum said: “We are committed to growing our traditional protein business and investing in innovative new proteins to ultimately provide a complete basket of goods to our customers.
“Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market.”
DFJ partner Steve Jurveston, who will join the Memphis Meats board of directors, believes clean meat is an ‘enormous technological shift’ for humanity.
“This is a moment where the investment potential and the potential to do good for the world are both off the charts,” he said. “Investors have been watching this space for years, and Memphis Meats has emerged as the clear leader.
“It is thrilling to watch the team work, and to try the products, which the entire DFJ team agreed are the real thing. I am so excited for the future that Memphis Meats will create.”
Memphis Meats has said its process of creating meat uses about 1% of the land and 10% of the water needed for conventional meat production.
Earlier this month, meat alternative start-up Impossible Foods closed a $75 million investment to continue development of its meat substitute made from plants.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017