USA – Memphis Meats, a pioneer in the production of cell-based meat, poultry and seafood has raised a landmark US$161 million in its series B funding round, which will enable the company to bring its products to consumers for the first time.
The funding round counts as the largest funding moment in the history of the cell-based meat industry and brings the total capital raised by the company to more than US$180 million.
Based in Berkeley, California, Memphis Meats is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals.
The company released the world’s first cell-based meatball in February 2016 and the world’s first cell-based poultry in March 2017.
Memphis Meats intends to use the funds to build a pilot production facility, continue to grow its team, and to hit a major milestone of launching products into the market.
The company did not announce a date for product launch, but reveled that it is working with regulatory agencies to ensure a timely and safe market entry.
The Series B round is led by SoftBank Group, Norwest and Temasek. Also joining the round are new and existing investors including Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Threshold Ventures, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Finistere, Future Ventures, Kimbal Musk, Fifty Years and CPT Capital.
This round extends the Memphis Meats coalition to Asia, which is a strategically valuable market for cell-based meat and faces significant challenges in meeting growing demand for meat.
“We are excited to welcome these investors into our Big Tent,” said Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats.
“Memphis Meats is revolutionizing how meat is brought to every table around the world. We are providing compelling and delicious choices by producing real meat from animal cells, its natural building blocks.
“Cell-based meat is poised to dramatically expand humanity’s capacity to feed a growing global population while preserving our culinary traditions and protecting our planet.”
Jeff Housenbold, Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers said, “I am delighted that SoftBank Group is supporting Memphis Meats and its talented team in their mission to deliver a more sustainable, humane and secure food system.”
Said Priti Youssef Choksi, Partner at Norwest Venture Partners: “The reality is that conventional production methods for meat can’t keep up with global demand, which is expected to double by 2050.
“Cell-based meat addresses this issue while offering enormous potential to improve the environment and have a positive impact on food safety and animal welfare.
“Memphis Meats is on a mission to serve up real meat without the compromise. We are thrilled to partner with this visionary team.”