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Platform for facilitating matchmaking between funders and funding-seekers

It can be challenging and time-intensive for startups and researchers to find funders that are interested in their technology area, technological maturity level, fundraising stage, location, type of funding sought, and other factors. Lists of investors, lenders, and grant-making institutions with specific information on interest areas and point of contact can significantly reduce friction in fundraising. Likewise, it can be difficult for funders to find out about these opportunities, so centralized listings of all companies and researchers actively seeking funding can facilitate deal flow.

Production platform
  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon Plant-Based
Solution category
  • Ecosystem
Value chain segment
  • Investment
Relevant actor
  • Investors
  • GFI

Current challenge

The startup and growth investment system is fraught with inefficiency and information asymmetry. The current system relies on “warm introductions,” “cold emails,” or hiring expensive brokers such as investment banks to facilitate deal flow. All of these mechanisms rely on leveraging social networks, require immense amounts of human capital, and are prone to both systematic biases and random errors as they rely on imperfect recall and distributed access to information. This inefficient, decentralized system has arisen due to a lack of compiled and streamlined  information on the specific interests and capabilities of both funders and startups. As a result, an enormous amount of effort is expended on simply collecting information on a company (preliminary diligence) and managing high communication volumes (email overload). Similar challenges exist with other forms of funding like loans, research grants, and inventory financing—innovators and capital often fail to find each other.

Proposed solution

A centralized online platform for alternative protein funders (investors and open-access research funders) and those seeking funding can significantly reduce transaction costs. The platform will serve as a mechanism for two-way information exchange. It will allow startups and researchers to submit information on their project and funding needs. Funders can review for the database for relevant deals or research efforts that fit within their investment mandate or funding scope. In parallel, funders can also post information on their interests and what further information they require for exploring deeper engagement, which those seeking funding can review for fit.

In some cases, a proposed project or a specific area of funder interest may be competitively sensitive, and therefore would not be appropriate to share on a platform that may be visible to competitors. In order to mitigate risks associated with sharing sensitive information, the platform could additionally offer more actively facilitated matchmaking by allowing a third-party curator to suggest possible matches based on access to requests or proposals that are hidden from the platform’s other users. In a more sophisticated iteration, the platform could even facilitate the due diligence process through deal rooms, checklists, and data auto-population.

Anticipated impact

Reducing transaction costs associated with labor-intensive aspects of fundraising and investing (like deal flow and due diligence) would free up time and resources for companies, researchers, investors, and other funders to use for higher-value activities. A centralized platform to connect funders with fund-seekers would lower the barrier to entry for both, thus facilitating more capital flow into alternative protein projects from new funders. Likewise, the transparency of the platform itself may spur interest from new investors who are able to more readily see that their peers are making investments in alternative proteins. Further, this platform could be used to promote transparency in negotiations and syndicated deals, improving information flows that contribute to efficient use of time and human capital and reducing the risk that less experienced actors will be saddled with an unfair or sub-optimal deal.

  • GFI’s Investor Directory connects investors interested in alternative proteins with actively fundraising alternative protein startups.
  • GFI’s research funding database maintains a list of grants (government and private) available to alternative protein researchers.
  • GlassWall Syndicate coordinates early-stage venture capital deals among their members.
  • Tools like Proseeder can facilitate collaborative diligence and Peerbook can facilitate matchmaking.
  • Beyond Animal is another fintech and vegan investing platform.

GFI resources

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Connect with startups who are fundraising. Learn about the market and technical landscape for plant-based meat, cultivated meat, and fermentation.

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Investor directory

Find hundreds of investors interested in funding alternative protein companies in GFI’s investor directory.

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  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
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Coordination among investors with alternative protein industry-specific expertise

Investors specializing in alternative proteins should be leveraged to educate the broader investment community through coalitions, syndicated deals, and co-investments with industry-agnostic investors, and spearhead efforts to facilitate later-stage funding…

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Infrastructure loan fund

The success of early-days products has demonstrated strong consumer interest, but investment is needed to enable alternative protein supply chain companies to build out the infrastructure needed to capitalize on…

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Browse 300+ startup ideas, commercial opportunities, research projects, and investment priorities throughout the alternative protein supply chain.

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