Kraft Heinz leads seed funding in animal-free cheese maker

USA – New Culture, maker of animal-free dairy cheese has closed a US$3.5 million seed funding round led by Evolv Ventures, the Kraft Heinz’s US$100 million venture fund.

New Culture, which was founded in late 2018, uses fermentation instead of animals to make dairy proteins.

New Culture adds plant-based fats, sugars to the traditional cheesemaking process in making dairy cheese that is sustainable, healthy, ethical and indistinguishable from animal-based dairy cheese in taste, texture and function.

With the finding, the company seeks to accelerate its efforts in addressing “unsustainability” of current dairy cheese production by providing a viable alternative cheese product.

Inja Radman co-founder and chief sustainability officer of New Culture explains: “Fully plant-based cheese doesn’t work, and we know why.

“It lacks the crucial component which gives dairy cheese its signature properties, and that is the casein micelle, a supramolecular structure of dairy proteins that are found only in mammalian milk.

“We are developing the technology to make those casein micelles without involving animals in the process.”

Other investors in the round include Bee Partners, Mayfield, CPT Capital, Boost VC and SOSV who followed on after its initial pre-seed investment through IndieBio.

Steve Sanger, a General Partner at Evolv Ventures explains, “We’re excited to lead the seed round for New Culture.

“We have been impressed by what the team accomplished during IndieBio in a short period of time and look forward to supporting their vision to produce animal-free dairy cheese.

“This is another example of our focus on investing in the leading companies across the food value chain.”

Matt Gibson, CEO and co-founder of New Culture said, “It’s fantastic to have the support of our investors as we look to grow the company and scale New Culture’s unique fermentation technology.

“We want to disrupt one of the oldest and largest food industries in the world by producing a better dairy cheese for anyone to enjoy – whether you’re a cheese lover, lactose-intolerant, vegan, environmentally conscious or health-conscious.

“The capital, knowledge and network our investors bring to New Culture enables us to begin doing that.”

New Culture will remain in the San Francisco Bay Area as it looks to set up an R&D and fermentation facility while also growing its team.

“We’re really excited about what the next 18 – 24 months holds for New Culture,” Gibson says. We are experiencing one of the most significant and important food movements of our time.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to join other fantastic companies in building a more efficient and sustainable global food industry.”

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