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.
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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.”
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