If you were in denial about the clean meat revolution brewing and still believe its imminent route to market is a myth, then today you might just change your mind. This morning, Memphis Meats announced that it has gained the support of a groundbreaking group of investors for its $17M Series A round - including traditional meat producing incumbent Cargill!
The company’s Series A fundraising round, led by DFJ, marks the first public commitment to the clean meat movement by top venture investors AND meat industry leaders and marks a major moment where both meat industry leaders and mission-driven groups have come together behind one company.
In an unprecedented milestone, Cargill and other food industry giants invested in Memphis Meats as part of the round as well as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Atomico, one of Europe’s largest VC firms, invested in Memphis Meat’s $17M Series A round. The round was led by DFJ, a leading venture capital firm that has previously backed Tesla, SpaceX and Skype. New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Suzy and Jack Welch, Kyle Vogt, and Kimbal Musk also participated as did multiple research institutions.
Memphis Meats has now raised $22M to date which it plans to use the funds to continue developing delicious 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.
Cargill’s interest is clearly market-driven and a sure sign that now even animal producers are accepting of the new world of protein production. “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,” says Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures, Cargill Protein. “Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market. Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and Memphis Meats plans to bring clean meat products to consumers across the world, and the investor coalition brings global reach and relationships".
Memphis Meats expects to quadruple its headcount, and says it has already begun growing its team of chefs, scientists creative people and business people. “We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way,” says Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats.
“The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions. Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world. 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.”
Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb, MPI, Fonterra - the clean meat driven tides of change are coming fast. Time for NZ players to ramp up its diversification and value-add strategies. Toute de suite.