In another recent leap for lab grown meat, clean meat company Memphis Meats announced that it completed a $17 million Series A fundraising round that was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), a leading venture capital firm that has also invested in SpaceX, Twitter and Tesla.
Also read, This plant-based burger could be bad news for Canada's meat industry.
The round included a number of notable investors including Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Suzy and Jack Welch. The round was also supported by food industry leaders including farm-to-table founding father Kimbal Musk and agriculture company Cargill Inc., the largest privately held corporation in the United States whose last declared revenues ($136.7 billion) would rank it number 15 on the Fortune 500.
Memphis Meats has been developing real meat grown directly from animal cells as a way to bypass the various complications associated with traditional animal agriculture. With their lab grown clean meat, they aim to minimize meat's environmental impact, preserve animal welfare and produce meat that is safer to eat than traditionally farmed meat.
The company plans to use the funding to continue to develop products as well as enhance its economies of scale. The company has been making progress in scaling production and reducing costs over the last year, but still has a ways to go. As of March, the company estimated that it could produce 1 pound of chicken meat for under $9,000, which is roughly half of what it cost to produce 1 pound of its beef meatballs in 2016.
While currently still expensive, this is a tremendous reduction from the $300,000 production cost of the first ever clean burger produced in 2013. Memphis Meats aims to ultimately produce their products at a market competitive price point that is comparable or cheaper to traditional meat.
With approximately 30 percent of the planet's ice-free surface already dedicated to animal production alongside a simultaneous meat consumption increase of 73 percent by 2050, a number of clean meat and plant-based meat companies join Memphis Meats in the mission of reducing consumption of traditional meat.
Both Mosa Meats and Hampton Creek have been developing their own lab grown meat products, with the latter mired in more recent controversy over alleged food safety violations. Moreover, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have been making advances with their plant-based meat products. In addition to investing in Memphis Meats' recently announced Series A round, earlier this month Bill Gates also invested in Impossible Foods' recent $75 million fundraising round.
As of 2016, there were still concerns with Memphis Meats' use of fetal bovine serum in the production of its lab-grown meat, however the company claimed that it would be replacing the serum with a plant-based alternative by year's end. Regardless of progression on this resolution, the company feels optimistic that it will solve both the ecological as well as economic issues associated with traditional meat.
"We believe this to be one of the biggest technological leaps for humanity," says Uma Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats.
SOURCE Christina Troitino, Forbes
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