Start-up raises funds to open world’s first cultured meat pilot production facility

Start-up raises funds to open world’s first cultured meat pilot production facility
Cross section of grilled cultured chicken (bottom) compared to farmed chicken (top) (credit: Future Meat Technologies)

Israel food-tech start-up, Future Meat Technologies, will open the world’s first cultured meat pilot production facility next year after raising $14 million in Series A funding.

This funding is believed to be the second largest investment round in the cultured meat sector to date.

It was led by S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based venture capital firm and one of the forces behind Beyond Meat’s IPO, and Swiss venture capital firm, Emerald Technology Ventures.

They were joined by investors Henry Soesanto, the CEO of Monde Nissin, one of the largest producers of meat alternatives; Manta Ray Ventures, a UK-based venture capital firm, and Bits x Bites, a Chinese food and agriculture tech VC.

Funding will be used to expand R&D efforts and build the world’s first cultured meat pilot production facility, estimated to begin operations in 2020, south of Tel Aviv.

“With this investment, we’re thrilled to bring cultured meat from the lab to the factory floor and begin working with our industrial partners to bring our product to market,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies.

“We’re not only developing a global network of investors and advisors with expertise across the meat and ingredient supply chains, but also providing the company with sufficient runway to achieve commercially viable production costs within the next two years.”

Future Meat Technologies’ process utilises the rapid growth of connective tissue cells, called fibroblasts, to reach high densities before turning the cells to cultured muscle and healthy fats.

The company aims to introduce hybrid products – combining plant proteins for texture and cultured fats that create the distinct aroma and flavour of meat.

With current small-scale production costs of $150 per pound of chicken and $200 per pound of beef, Future Meat Technologies plans to release its hybrid products at a competitive cost level from its pilot production facility by 2021 and launch a second line of 100% cultured meat products at a cost of less than $10 per pound by 2022.