Leading clean meat company Memphis Meats, which has successfully produced chicken, duck and beef from animal cells, has announced it has raised $22m in its latest fundraising campaign, with backing from Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
The company’s drive, which was led by leading venture capital company DFJ has also seen investment from global agricultural commodity giant Cargill and other food industry giants.
Memphis Meats, which produced the world’s first clean poultry in March, plans to use the funds to continue developing products and to accelerate its work in scaling up clean meat production, reducing production costs to levels comparable to – and ultimately below – conventional meat costs.
The company expects to quadruple its headcount and has already begun growing its team of scientists, chefs and business people.
Uma Valeti, managing director, co-founder and chief executive of Memphis Meats, said the way conventional meat was produced today created challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health.
“These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”
Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures for Cargill Protein, said the company was committed to growing its traditional protein business and investing in innovative new proteins to ultimately provide a complete basket of goods to customers.
“Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market.
“Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”
Mr Branson told Bloomberg News that he believed that in 30 years animals will no longer need to be slaughtered and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based.