There has been increasing awareness regarding animal abuse and the negative effects of consuming meat laced with chemicals and antibiotics on health. It is estimated that animal agriculture is responsible for the emission of more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined. According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.
Eventually, people are looking for healthier options with fewer chemicals. This has given rise to a number of clean meat companies that grow muscle cells and fat cells in a bioreactor, thereby eliminating the needless killing of animals and is also safer for the environment. One such startup involved in the production of cultured meat is Maastricht-based Mosa Meat.
Bags €47.8M Series B funding
In a recent development, Mosa Meat announced the first closing of $55M (nearly €47.8M), which is a part of the larger Series B funding. The round is led by Blue Horizon Ventures, a Luxembourg-based food tech fund that intends to support and promote a positive global impact on human health, environment, and animal welfare.
The Dutch startup will use this investment to extend its existing pilot production facility in Maastricht, expand its team, develop an industrial-sized production line, and bring delicious cultured beef for its customers. For now, the food-tech startup has not announced a specific launch date and will work with regulators to demonstrate the safety of its product and seek approvals to serve European consumers awaiting change.
In addition to the Series B funding, Dr. Regina Hecker, Principal at Blue Horizon Ventures, will join the board of Mosa Meat with a special focus on scaling, science, and regulatory. They are joined by M Ventures, Bell Food Group, and other mission-based investors and advisors as well.
This funding round follows a successful Series A round in 2018, which included investments by M Ventures, Bell Food Group, Nutreco and Lowercarbon Capital.
World’s first cultured hamburger
Mosa Meat, a Dutch food tech startup founded by Mark Post and Peter Verstrate in 2016 produces and grows beef naturally from cow cells. It wants to transform the global meat industry with its cell-culture technology. The company already launched the world’s first cultured hamburger and intends to develop commercial products available for consumers by 2021. It claims that the process involves no genetic modification
According to the company, its first burger cost €250,000 to produce and was funded by Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. “The burger was this expensive in 2013 because back then we were producing at a very small scale,” says the company.
For the past few years, Mosa Meat has been focusing on improving the product and developing a scalable production process (as opposed to working on bringing down the price). Although the company has managed to reduce the cost of some parts of the process (for eg, by reducing manual labour through automation, and eliminating costly components of the medium), the process remains expensive. The company claims the price will only really come down, when it scales up significantly.
The company is aiming for a first market introduction in the next few years. “It is very difficult to commit to a particular timeframe because there are still some scientific unknowns and factors outside our control (such as the regulatory process). The first introduction will likely be small-scale. Several years beyond that, we aim to be widely available in restaurants and supermarkets,” claims Mosa Meat.
Main image picture credits: Mosa Meat