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Memphis Meats closes $161m funding round

Staff Report/Berkeley
Filed on January 23, 2020
Uma Valeti and Khaled bin Alwaleed, founder and CEO KBW Ventures.

(Supplied photo)

The company is developing methods to produce meat that is significantly better for the environment, animals, and public health

Cell-based meat, poultry and seafood company, Memphis Meats, has announced the close of a $161 million funding round.

The breakthrough round marks the largest funding moment in the history of the cell-based meat industry, and will enable Memphis Meats to bring its products to consumers. In total, the company has raised more than $180 million.

Memphis Meats expects to use the funds to build a pilot production facility, continue to grow its team, and to hit a major milestone of launching products into the market. The company has not yet announced a date for product launch, and is working with regulatory agencies to ensure a timely and safe market entry.

The Series B round is led by SoftBank Group, Norwest, and Temasek. Also joining the round are new and existing investors including Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Threshold Ventures, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Finistere, Future Ventures, Kimbal Musk, Fifty Years, CPT Capital, KBW Ventures and Vulcan Capital. This round extends the Memphis Meats coalition to Asia, which is a strategically valuable market for cell-based meat and faces significant challenges in meeting growing demand for meat.

"We are excited to welcome these investors into our Big Tent," said Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats. "Memphis Meats is revolutionising how meat is brought to every table around the world. We are providing compelling and delicious choices by producing real meat from animal cells, its natural building blocks. Cell-based meat is poised to dramatically expand humanity's capacity to feed a growing global population while preserving our culinary traditions and protecting our planet."

"I am proud to invest once again in Memphis Meats, the world's leading cell-based meat company. In the next few decades I believe that cell-based meat will become a major part of our global meat supply. I cannot wait for that day!" said Richard Branson.

Jeff Housenbold, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: "I am delighted that SoftBank Group is supporting Memphis Meats and its talented team in their mission to deliver a more sustainable, humane and secure food system."

Priti Youssef Choksi, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, added: "The reality is that conventional production methods for meat can't keep up with global demand, which is expected to double by 2050. Cell-based meat addresses this issue while offering enormous potential to improve the environment and have a positive impact on food safety and animal welfare. Memphis Meats is on a mission to serve up real meat without the compromise. We are thrilled to partner with this visionary team."

Based in Berkeley, CA, Memphis Meats is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals. The company released the world's first cell-based meatball in February 2016 and the world's first cell-based poultry in March 2017. It aims to bring to the market meat that is significantly better for the environment, animals and public health, while claiming a share of the $1.4 trillion global market for meat.

Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, said: "Memphis Meats pioneered the birth and growth of the cell-based meat industry and has been raising the bar ever since. This investment round is a monumental milestone in the progress of the field and will help Memphis Meats move toward the scale they need to get their products to market, with huge positive results for climate change, food security, and global health." - business@khaleejtimes.com



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