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article imageRichard Branson and Bill Gates invest in 'clean meat' startup

By Karen Graham     Aug 25, 2017 in Food
San Francisco - Cargill, Inc, along with Bill Gates and Richard Branson, and other business giants are taking a chance on a California-based startup using a nascent technology to produce meat from self-producing animal cells.
Memphis Meats, based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, has developed a way to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals. They successfully produced the world's first "clean meatball" in February 2016 and the world’s first "clean poultry" in March 2017.
The company was founded by three scientists, Uma Valeti (CEO), Nicholas Genovese (CSO) and Will Clem. Valeti is a cardiologist and medical professor at the University of Minnesota. Their goal was to produce a sustainable protein source amid rising consumer demand for protein that’s less reliant on feed, land, and water.
The Memphis Meats Meats team in the kitchen.
CC License: Attrition  no deriv.
The Memphis Meats Meats team in the kitchen. CC License: Attrition, no deriv.
Memphis Meats
The company is using biotechnology to induce stem cells to differentiate into muscle tissue with the ultimate goal of being able to manufacture the meat products in bioreactors. So far, Memphis Meats has been able to produce beef, chicken, and duck with their process.
Company receives backing in fundraising round
Memphis Meats raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement on Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup’s website.
Joining the round were Atomico, one of Europe’s largest VC firms. New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Suzy and Jack Welch, Kyle Vogt, and Kimbal Musk, as well as multiple research institutions. The company has now raised $22 million to date.
Southern Fried Chicken.
CC License: Attrition  no deriv.
Southern Fried Chicken. CC License: Attrition, no deriv.
Memphis Meats
The Series A fundraising round, led by venture capital firm DFJ, marks the first public commitment to the clean meat movement by top venture investors and meat industry leaders. This announcement also marks a major moment in which meat industry leaders and mission-driven groups have come together behind one company.
“I’m thrilled to have invested in Memphis Meats,” Mr. Branson said in an email in response to questions from Bloomberg News. “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”
More about Cargill, Memphis Meats, alternative meat, animal cells, Technology