As there is an increased awareness of antibiotic resistance, animal welfare and environmental hazards, a spree of young startups have come up with business ideas that let them make lab-grown meat that doesn’t cost a bombshell. Their ideas are bolstered by the biotech industry.
Lab-grown meat tech startups
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. A host of European entrepreneurs are all set to make this happen soon. While various solutions for cultured meat are on cards, here are some promising European startups that are at the forefront.
Mosa Meat (Netherlands)
Founder/s: Mark Post, Peter Verstrate
Founded year: 2016
Mosa Meat 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.
Last month, 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.
Founder/s: Daan Luining, Krijn de Nood
Founded year: 2018
Meatable is a Dutch cultivated meat company intends to change the meat industry’s impact on climate change and animal welfare by offering cultivated meat. Meatable’s technology is built and optimised by Stanford and Cambridge scientists to produce large batches of the cells needed to make meat in a matter of days to weeks.
Late last year, Meatable raised an additional $10M (nearly €9M) in seed funding, bringing the company’s total funding of nearly $13M (nearly €11.7M). The funding round was led by an existing investor base including BlueYard Capital, with supplemental funds from angel investors including Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, and Albert Wenger, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. The European Commission also contributed funds through its Eurostars Programme.
Higher Steaks (UK)
Founder/s: Benjamina Bollag, Stephanie Wallis, David Hay
Founded year: 2017
Cultivated meat startup Higher Steaks produces lab-made bacon strips and pork belly. The Cambridge-based company operates with the mission to transform the engineering processes behind the lab-grown meat market. Instead of animal-based cell growth serum, Higher Steaks uses stem cells obtained with a small blood sample and patented protocols.
Founder/s: Ido Savir, Koby Barak, Shir Friedman
Founded year: 2015
SuperMeat uses embryonic stem cells, as well as animal-free growth serum to cultivate lab-grown chicken cells. The startup secured €3.8M funding last year to develop meat pieces and patties prior to its expansion to complex structured products such as chicken breast. SuperMeat intends to hit the market in a couple of years at a competitive price point.
Future Meat Technologies (Israel)
Founder/s: Yaakov Nahmias
Founded year: 2018
Based out of Jerusalem, Future Meat Technologies is developing its own lab-grown meat culturing kits. The company intends to sell these kits to traditional meat farmers. The company claims that these meat culturing kits are like microbreweries that are capable of growing connective tissue cells such as muscle and fat at a faster rate, sans animal-based serums or stem cells.
Back in September this year, Future Meat Technologies secured $2.2M (nearly €1.8M) seed funding from Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods alongside Neto Group, HB Ventures, S2G Ventures, BitsXBites, and Agrinnovation.
Aleph Farms (Israel)
Founder/s: Didier Toubia, Shulamit Levenberg
Founded year: 2017
Aleph Farms is a food company that was co-founded with the food-tech incubator, The Kitchen Hub, and Prof. Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion Institute of Technology, Israel.
It cultivates real steak without harming animals or the environment. The company touts that it is actively engaging with livestock farmers to integrate cultivated meat into a solution set to resolve challenges faced by the agriculture industry. According to the company, Aleph is the first letter of the oldest alphabetic writing system, developed 1800 BC. Aleph has the meaning of the word “ox” and its typographic symbol represents the ox head.
Biotech Foods (Spain)
Founder/s: San Sebastián
Founded year: 2017
Lab-grown meat project ‘Meat4all’ is led by Spanish firm BioTech Foods and its Ethicameat B2B concept. BioTech Foods has been working on developing its cultured meat, which it supplies to food business customers, known as ‘Ethicameat‘ since 2017.
With French company Organotechnie, which is one of the participants, the ‘Meat4all’ project aims to increase the production technology of cultured meat, work on market acceptance and carry out testing before its sales that is set to debut by July 2022. A few days back, the EU’s Horizon 2020 R&D funding framework programme granted €2.7M for this project.
Main image picture credits: Mosa Meat