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July 13, 2020

Singapore plant-based start-up Karana backed by investors

Karana, a Singaporean start-up specialising in plant-based food, has revealed development plans after a seed-funding round.

By Leonie Barrie

Karana, a Singaporean start-up specialising in plant-based food, has raised US$1.7m in a seed-funding round.

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Describing itself as “Asia’s first whole-plant based meat brand”, Karana has been backed by Henry Soesanto, CEO of Quorn Foods owner Monde Nissin Corp.

Other investors include Big Idea Ventures, a venture-capital fund with an interest in backing plant-based foods, and Germi8, a Japanese and Singaporean fund. A number of angel investors also participated, including Hong Kong-based food and beverage sector entrepreneurs Kevin Poon and Gerald Li.

Karana said it plans to use the funds to launch a range of plant-based meats and dim sum products in Singapore and to accelerate its research and development (R&D) capabilities. The money will also be used to build a regional food-tech team.

Karana’s first product – ‘pork’ made from organic jackfruit – is set to launch this year. The company said its products will be available through retail in early 2021.  

Co-founder Blair Crichton said: “We chose Singapore as a city to launch in as it’s a global leader in food-tech innovation, with an abundance of industry experts, strong government support, and like-minded investors who we knew would believe in the brand.”

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Disruptive start-ups to watch out for

2021 was a record-breaking year, with more businesses breaking into the billion-dollar club. Many start-ups have achieved or retained the unicorn status by the end of the year to reflect nearly a fivefold growth from that in 2020. This boom can be linked to a financing frenzy spurred by the quick adoption of technology and innovative solutions by start-ups gaining traction in response to the pandemic. However, the start-up ecosystem is now facing turbulent times for fundraising as investors seek long-term business strategies, valuations, and a route to profitability amid uncertain market circumstances. Nevertheless, 2022 has the potential to carry forward the momentum with multiple entities having a fair chance of being in the right place when aided by the right technologies. GlobalData leverages the power of alternative data to examine the health of start-ups across multiple dimensions including the qu