Dutch cultured meat startup Meatable announced today that it has raised a $47 million Series A round of funding. Investors include Dr. Rick Klausner, Section 32, Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, and DSM Venturing, with participation from existing investors including BlueYard Capital, Agronomics, Humboldt, and Taavet Hinrikus. This brings Meatable’s total funding raised so far to $60 million.
Meanwhile, Memphis Meats, which Gates namechecked in the Technology Review interview, wants to avoid animals altogether whenever possible—including by harvesting cells from procedures like animal biopsies, where cells would be discarded. Memphis Meats makes ground beef, as well as lab-grown chicken and duck. So far, neither Memphis Meats nor Mosa is on any menus, with the economically depressed restaurant scene of 2020 putting a serious damper on development. Mosa believes it will have a menu-ready product by 2022.
In the Technology Review interview, Gates specifically cited Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat as examples of scalable technologies that could reach consumers more quickly. As for the “cellular” kind of lab grown meat? “I don’t know that that will ever be economical,” Gates admitted.
“Cultivated” or “cell-based” meat companies, growing food from animal cells, raised 417% more than in all of 2019. In part, it’s a continuation of a long-term trend. “2019 really appeared to be the tipping point where plant-based meat shifted into the mainstream,” says Caroline Bushnell, associate director of corporate engagement at the Good Food Institute. “Not only did we see the major meat companies debut plant-based product lines—pretty much all of them, from Tyson, to Hormel, to Smithfield—but iconic American restaurant chains like Burger King and Dunkin Donuts added plant-based meats to their menus, and retail sales grew double digits. So the momentum coming into this moment was already really strong.”
“There is a lot of big names who have been supporting the alternative meat industry and those big names have been supporting some of them since day one,” said Chow.Some of those billionaire investors also sit on boards of major grocery retailers and used their power and influence to get meat alternative products out of the tofu aisle and into the butcher aisle, he said.
UAE-based KBW Ventures, the venture capital (VC) firm founded by Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, son of Saudi Arabia billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has invested in a $161 million Series B for US-based cell-based meat, poultry and seafood company Memphis Meats. The round was led by SoftBank Group, Norwest and Temasek, and was joined by other new and existing investors including Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Threshold Ventures, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Finistere, Future Ventures, Kimbal Musk, Fifty Years, CPT Capital and Vulcan Capital.
Wild Type, a startup developing cultured salmon (that is, fish grown from cells outside the animal), announced today that it had raised a $12.5 million Series A funding round. The round was led by CRV with participation from Maven Ventures, Spark Capital and Root Ventures, the last two of which had previously invested in Wild Type. This would bring the total amount of funding raised by the company to $16 million.