In the most recent Series A funding round, Memphis Meats raised an unprecedented $17 million from venture capitalists/meat industry leaders that include DFJ, Cargill, Atomico, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Susy and Jack Welch, Kyle Vogt, and Kimbal Musk. This now marks a total of $22 million raised by the clean meat company hoping to revolutionize the way we harvest our world’s meat.
The Memphis Meats Mission
According to Memphis Meats, global consumers spend nearly $1 trillion per year on meat, and demand for meat is expected to double in the coming decades. With a mission to “change the way meat gets to your plate,” the San Francisco-based startup has developed a way to produce real meat from animals cells, without the need to feed, breed and slaughter actual animals. The end result: backing in the tune of $17 million from the world’s most recognizable philanthropists. Memphis Meats is trying to “divorce” the idea that meat has to come from animals. “What we’re producing is the same meat as you would get from an animal, we just took the animal out,” Senior Scientist Eric Schulze, Ph.D. said.
“Memphis Meats claims that its lab-grown meat process yields 90% fewer emissions.”
With livestock farming contributing to 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it’s time for a new sustainable means of keeping meats stocked on our grocery shelves. “We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way,” explains 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.”
“These cells can grow in areas where there is no contamination from bacteria or fecal matter,” Valeti said. “And once we get to the point where we feel the meat is tender and mature, we just harvest it.”
26% of the ice-free land on Earth is used for livestock feed production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “Each year, 32.1 billion acres of forest area are lost due to land consumption for agriculture uses as pastures or cropland, for both food and livestock feed crop production.”
DFJ – Leading Venture Capitalist Firm
“Clean meat is an enormous technological shift for humanity, and an opportunity to invest in something so important does not come along often,” says Steve Jurvetson, DFJ Partner. “This is a moment where the investment potential and the potential to do good for the world are both off the charts. Investors have been watching this space for years, and Memphis Meats has emerged as the clear leader. It is thrilling to watch the team work and to try the products, which the entire DFJ team agreed are the real thing. I am so excited for the future that Memphis Meats will create.”
Cargill – Global Agricultural Giant
“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 sustainable way.”
Atomico – Europe’s Largest VC Firm
Memphis Meats plans to bring clean meat products to consumers across the world, and the investor coalition brings global reach and relationships. Atomico Partner Carolina Brochado explains, “There are few challenges larger and more global than the sustainability of the way we eat. Meat production today uses one-third of Earth’s fresh water and land surface and generates nearly one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions. With a projected demand growing by nearly 70% by 2050, we know we are in desperate need of a solution. After a careful global search, taking into consideration both taste and science, we believe that Memphis Meats leads the field. We look forward to helping them bring their products to the world’s largest international markets.”
The Good Food Institute
“This is a momentous occasion for anyone who wants to see a food system that is safe, good for the planet and animals, and completely satisfying to consumers,” adds Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of the Good Food Institute. “Memphis Meats is doing amazing work to make this vision a reality. We are excited to welcome a meat industry leader into the fold, and I believe they have enormous potential to support and accelerate this work. For animal welfare and environmental advocates, today is a huge step forward.”
Memphis Meats’ three-step harvesting process:
1. Obtaining animal cells
2. Feeding the cell nutrients (food and water)
3. Once the cells have grown, delicious meat is ready to be cooled and eaten
About Memphis Meats
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis Meats is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals. Memphis Meats released the world’s first clean meatball in February 2016 and the world’s first clean poultry in March 2017. The company aims to bring to the market delicious, real meat that is significantly better for the environment, animals and public health while claiming a share of the near-trillion dollar global market for meat.
Source: Memphis Meats, StarTribune, FAO