August 27, 2021
AgFunder, the leading food and agro technology VC firm, announces the final closing of New Carnivore, its alternative protein fund, for $ 21 million. The fund was significantly oversubscribed.
ADM Ventures, the VC arm of global food and raw materials company Archer-Daniels-Midland, invested in the fund. Alexandria Venture Investments, a unit of the $ 30 billion real estate mutual fund Alexandria Real Estate Equities, was also involved.
New Carnivore has made seven investments to date, co-investing with leading VCs like a16z, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and DCVC, as well as celebrities like Natalie Portman, John Legend and Jay-Z. The fund is aiming for a total of 20 investments.
The current portfolio includes:
- Nobell Foods (USA): a plant-based cheese company that uses soy plants to make casein – one of the key proteins in cow’s milk, which is responsible for cheese’s elasticity, texture and mouthfeel.
- SIMULATE (US): a company that makes plant-based chicken nuggets and patties and has gained an almost cult following through its direct sales strategy.
- Alpha Foods (US): a plant-based company with versions of popular dishes like burritos, pizzas, and pies.
- Mycoworks (USA): an alternative to cowhide made from mycelium, which has developed a sold-out handbag in collaboration with the luxury brand Hermès.
- Integriculture (Japan): a manufacturer of components for cell-based meat production, solving one of the greatest challenges of the emerging industry.
- Lavva (USA): a company that makes plant-based yogurt and uses pili nuts, a superfood the founder discovered while treating her cancer.
- Fable Food Co (Australia): a vegan meat substitute based on shiitake mushrooms recommended by chef Heston Blumenthal.
AgFunder’s thesis for New Carnivore is based on the fact that human beings have replaced animals with technology time and again throughout history: cars replaced horses, petroleum replaced whales, tractors replaced oxen, and so on. “Groceries are next in line,” says Rob Leclerc, founding partner of AgFunder.
“Entrepreneurs around the world are reinventing the way we make products that traditionally come from animals. By applying the latest technologies in biotechnology, tissue engineering, artificial intelligence and food science, entrepreneurs are creating new animal-free products that are cheaper, healthier, tastier and more sustainable. Even if they are moderately successful, they have a chance to capture a significant portion of the $ 1.5 trillion animal protein market, ”says Leclerc.
The environmental aspect is also clear. Animal husbandry is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, takes up 80% of the world’s agricultural area and consumes a third of the world’s grain. But it only provides 18% of our calories. Yet global demand for protein is increasing, and current animal husbandry systems cannot meet this growth without further harming the planet. With increasingly conscious consumers, the creation of food tribes on social media, the emergence of new technologies, and the rise of mission-driven entrepreneurs, the time has come for breakthrough innovation in this category.