US – Motif FoodWorks, a fast-growing food startup spun out of Ginkgo Bioworks in 2019, has raised US$226 million in a series B funding round led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board participated in the seed funding round through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP).

Other participators in the round included AiiM Partners, Wittington Ventures, Rethink Food, Rage Capital and Rellevant Partners.

Existing investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, CPT Capital, General Atlantic, Louis Dreyfus Company and Viking Global Investors are also reported to have participated in the round.

With the funding, the Boston based startup will have raised US$345 million to date even as it looks to bring transformative plant-based food technologies to market.

Armed with a heavy financial war chest, Motif FoodWorks now plans to increase its research and development capabilities, scale and commercialise its food technologies, as well as open more facilities. 

“Plant-based foods have the potential to unlock enormous benefits for people and the planet, but that will only happen if they live up to, or even exceed, what consumers expect from animal-based counterparts,” said Jonathan McIntyre, CEO of Motif FoodWorks.

He added: “With support from our investors, we’re advancing the understanding of food science and design to make plant-based foods better tasting, more nutritious and so desirable that people actually crave them.”

By continuing its growth in these areas, the company aims to solve key sensory and nutritional challenges with existing plant-based foods, including meat and dairy alternatives.

The company also recently secured licensing partnerships with the University of Guelph and Coasun for technologies that create melting and stretching characteristics in plant-based cheeses, and healthier fat alternatives that marbleise plant-based meats.

“Making plant-based foods taste great will increase the global appetite for this sector – and shape a better future for our planet in the process. As people increasingly look to meat and dairy alternatives, Motif offers breakthrough solutions powered by leading technology, deep scientific expertise and a visionary management team,” said Olivia Steedman, senior managing director of TIP.

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