Five years ago, GFI Advisor Dr. Mark Post introduced the world to clean meat — with the first beef burger produced directly from cow cells. The endeavor was funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Dr. Post went on to found Mosa Meat, now one of the world’s leading clean meat companies.
As reported this morning by Jacob Bunge in The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall), Mosa Meat announced they had raised $8.8M (â‚¬7.5M) in Series A funding to bring clean meat to market by 2021.
This initial round of funding was co-led by Bell Food Group, Switzerland’s leading meat processor with operations across Europe, and marks another major investment in clean meat by a leading meat company. Previous meat industry investments had come from the number one and three meat companies in the U.S., Tyson Foods and Cargill, and the largest chicken company in Germany, PHW Group.
Bunge notes that “Meat companies have billed [clean meat] as an additional way to provide beef, pork or chicken to an expanding and more affluent world population that is expected to strain the existing agricultural system.”
Bell’s co-leader for this round was M Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of science and technology company Merck.
“We are delighted to join forces with M Ventures and Bell Food Group to create the future of meat,” said Mosa Meat CEO Peter Verstrate. “M Ventures brings strong experience in the early-stage financing of science-based companies like ours and has added tremendous value throughout the fundraising process, while Bell Food Group brings strong downstream capabilities in meat processing and distribution. We think this is a perfect collaboration.”
The connection to Merck has other benefits as well.
Merck has deep expertise in culturing cells and producing high quality and scalable cell media. Verstrate notes: “This is significant given that the cell media currently comprises 80% of the cost of cultured meat.”
Alexander Hoffmann, Principal at M Ventures, is enthusiastic. “Replacing traditional meat production with cultured meat would have a huge impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it would free up a large amount of resources that are now used for meat production worldwide, and will completely disrupt an old-established and currently unsustainable industry.”
Lorenz Wyss, CEO of Bell Food Group, sees great potential in clean meat and Mosa Meat. “We believe this technology can become a true alternative for environment-conscious consumers, and we are delighted to bring our know-how and expertise of the meat business into this strategic partnership with Mosa Meat.”
Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director and co-founder of The Good Food Institute, notes that the investment marks another advance for clean meat. “This is the world’s first major investment in a European clean meat company; we are especially encouraged by the fact that both a science powerhouse like Merck and a meat powerhouse like Bell Food Group have invested. We are expecting great things from Dr. Post and his team at Mosa Meat.”