Memphis Meats, a developer of technologies to manufacture meat, seafood and poultry from animal cells, has raised $161 million in financing from investors, including Softbank Group, Norwest and Temasek, the investment fund backed by the government of Singapore.
The investment brings the company's total financing to $180 million. Previous investors include individual and institutional investors like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Threshold Ventures, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Finistere, Future Ventures, Kimbal Musk, Fifty Years and CPT Capital.
Other companies, including Future Meat Technologies, Aleph Farms, Higher Steaks, Mosa Meat and Meatable, are pursuing meat grown from cell cultures as a replacement for animal husbandry, whose environmental impact is a large contributor to deforestation and climate change around the world.
Innovations in computational biology, bio-engineering and materials science are creating new opportunities for companies to develop and commercialize technologies that could replace traditional farming with new ways to produce foods that have a much lower carbon footprint and bring about an age of superabundance, according to investors.
The race is on to see who will be the first to market with a product.
“For the entire industry, an investment of this size strengthens confidence that this technology is here today rather than some far-off future endeavor. Once there is a "proof of concept" for cultivated meat -- a commercially available product at a reasonable price point -- this should accelerate interest and investment in the industry," said Bruce Friedrich, the executive director of the Good Food Institute, in an email. “This is still an industry that has sprung up almost overnight and it’s important to keep a sense of perspective here. While the idea of cultivated meat has been percolating for close to a century, the very first prototype was only produced six years ago."