San Francisco-based Memphis Meats is gaining support of a groundbreaking group of investors.
The $17 million round includes investment from Cargill, Minneapolis, as well as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investor and philanthropist Richard Branson. The round also included investments from venture capital firms such as Atomico, a European venture capital firm; New Crop Capital, New York; SOSV, Princeton, N.J.; Fifty Years, San Francisco; KBW Ventures, Dubai; Inevitable Ventures, Los Angeles; Suzy and Jack Welch; Kyle Vogt; and Kimbal Musk. The company has raised $22 million to date.
Memphis Meats plans to use the funds to continue developing products, scale up clean meat production and reduce production costs to levels comparable to –and ultimately below –conventional meat costs. The company expects to quadruple its headcount, and has already begun growing its team of chefs, scientists, creative people and business professionals.
“We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way,” says Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO. “The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions. Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world. We want the world to keep eating what it loves. However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”
“We are committed to growing our traditional protein business and investing in innovative new proteins to ultimately provide a complete basket of goods to our customers,” says Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures, Cargill Protein. “Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market. Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”
Steve Jurvetson, partner for DFJ Venture Capital, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm who initially backed Memphis Meats, will join the company’s board of directors.