Russian plant-based meat start-up Welldone has raised $1.5 million in a funding round, as it looks to expand its production capacity and distribution.
The funding round was led by Phystech Ventures, with participation from Lever VC – a global investor in the alternative protein space, which recently announced a $46 million close of its Lever VC Fund I.
Welldone manufactures a range of meat alternatives including plant-based burgers, mince and cutlets, which are available online, via retail and feature on restaurant menus.
Since launching in September last year, the company has expanded its offerings to more than 500 points of sale in 50 cities across Russia, including listings at five national retail chains.
In an effort to meet sales growth, Welldone plans to use the funding to increase its monthly production capacity to 150 tons, expand its R&D team and launch new product lines.
The Russian company also intends to grow its distribution in Moscow and other regions, as well as internationally – building upon its current presence in Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The funding comes as the Russian plant-based meat market shows signs of growth. According to the Russian Agricultural Bank, plant-based meat will account for 1.5% of the entire meat category within four years.
“Today more and more people in Russia are starting to think about their diet. They understand that there are ingredients in animal meat which are not good for them, such as cholesterol,” said Alexander Kiselev, CEO of Welldone.
He added: “The plant-based market is poised to grow very quickly in Russia and Eastern Europe, and with our significant investment in R&D, world-class yet affordable products, and partnership with Phystech Ventures and Lever VC, we look forward to leading the growth of the category.”
Phystech Ventures principal, Anna Gishko, said: “Welldone’s key advantages include an experienced team, deep R&D expertise, and strong collaboration with the country’s leading food biotech institutes.
“With excellent scientific talent available in the country and much lower input costs, the efficiency of R&D in Russia is an important competitive advantage for international expansion.”
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