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July 6, 2020

Lever VC launches plant-based investment fund and accelerator in China

Investor Lester VC has linked up with accelerator operator Brinc on a venture targeting plant-based start-ups in a key Asian market.

By Leonie Barrie

Lester VC, the Hong Kong-headquartered venture-capital fund specialising in alternative proteins, has established an investment fund and accelerator targeting start-ups in China.

It has joined forces with China-based accelerator operator Brinc in the venture, which will also support cell-cultivated meat and dairy companies.

Lever VC, which was an early investor in US plant-based burger firms Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, as well as Memphis Meats and Just, is supported in the venture by Lever Foods, a Shanghai-based consultancy that advises on the alternative protein industry. Other corporate partners include the venture capital arms of Yili, one of China’s largest dairy businesses, Chinese state-owned agri-food giant COFCO Corp., as well as national industry trade group the China Plant-Based Foods Alliance and ingredients giant Givaudan.

The Lever China Alternative Protein Fund will invest CNY40m (US$5.7m) over the next four years in entrepreneurs and early stage alternative protein companies focusing on the mainland Chinese market.

Up to CNY160m is available in potential follow-on funding from the Lever VC Fund, for a total available investment pool of CNY200m.

Brinc will provide a three-month accelerator programme on a rolling basis at its centre in Guangzhou. 

Manav Gupta, CEO of Brinc, said: “With the right backing and support, alternative meat start-ups can bring forth fundamental and lasting change to our global food system.”

just-food commentary: Plant-based meat must target local tastes to succeed in China

On just-food’s interview pages: “This industry is so nascent” – Dao Foods investor Tao Zhang on taking plant-based meat mainstream in China

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VC funding trends to watch out for in Consumer

Consumer industry investors across the world are betting big on the ESG trend to pick up in the future and are focusing on backing the start-ups and emerging companies working in the meat-alternative products category.   The top two deals in this category were the $500 million investment raised by Impossible Foods and the $347 million investment deal for Future Meat Technologies.  GlobalData’s Venture Capital Investments – Consumer 2021 will help you dive into the capital raising landscape across regions and themes.  Use the report to identify emerging signals and trends across Consumer, formulating winning strategies for the road ahead.   
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