Meati Foods, a US start-up developing plant-based protein products using mycelium as the main ingredient, has secured US$50m in Series B funding to scale up production ahead of a planned launch next year.
The Boulder, Colorado-based business, co-founded by chief executive Tyler Huggins and chief technology officer Justin Whiteley, has now received almost $100m in funding following a $28m cash injection from investors last year and $18m in debt financing.
Meati Foods said it is in the final stages of developing its first products, which will feature whole cuts of ‘meat’ to replicate chicken breasts, steak and jerky. Pork tenderloin and other deli meats will follow further down the line.
Mycelium forms the key protein and fibre plant-based ingredient, which is described as the “muscular root structure of fungi” commonly found in mushrooms, and “an infinite, self-replenishing food source”.
“To grow Meati, the company has developed a proprietary process to cultivate its unique strain of fast-growing mycelium and gently form its naturally fibrous texture into whole-cut products without chemicals or processing,” the company explained. “Meati’s efficient indoor-growing process takes days rather than years. At scale, Meati’s innovative growing process can produce the meat equivalent of 4,500 cows every 24 hours and requires less than one percent of the water and land compared to conventional industrial meat production.”
Meati said a 4.5-ounce steak made with mycelium will provide 25 grams of protein, “superfood-level nutrition” and minerals and vitamins.
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CEO Huggins said in a statement: “Meati’s growing momentum and unprecedented product is attracting a diverse and talented group of people and partners focused on solving one of the food system’s toughest challenges: feeding everyone nutritious protein without compromising taste, nutrition, and human, animal or environmental welfare. We are thrilled to continue welcoming world-class visionaries and investors who are taking Meati’s mission to the next level.”
Acre Venture Partners, a California-based investor in “companies creating fundamental change in food and agriculture”, was a returning investor in the Series B round. The financing was co-led by VC Bond Capital as a new contributor located in San Francisco. Others included Prelude Ventures, Congruent Ventures and Tao Capital Partners, all situated in San Francisco.
Lucas Mann, a co-founder and managing partner at Acre Venture, added: “Meati is creating a new category of food. The pace of progress at Meati, in terms of both product and business development, has exceeded our expectations. We are not aware of any other product on the market that can match the nutrition, texture and price versatility of Meati.”
Meati said it secured the $18m in debt financing in April this year to build out its Urban Ranch production facility in Boulder to almost 80,000 square feet capable of manufacturing “millions of pounds of Meati by 2022”.