This week, food technology company Memphis Meats announced that it received $17 million in Series A funding from a handful of major investors. This round of funding is unique as it achieves several industry firsts: receiving funding from meat-industry incumbent Cargill; becoming the first company to attract funding from Sand Hill Road Investor (DFJ); and becoming the first “clean”—also known as “cultured”—meat company to close a Series A funding round. In this round of funding, Memphis Meats—which grows animal cells into meat in a laboratory setting without the necessity of slaughter—also received funding from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, billionaire Bill Gates, and entrepreneur Kimbal Musk. Bruce Friedrich, executive director of food advocacy nonprofit Good Food Institute (GFI), said this move will help involve the meat industry in the global shift away from industrialized animal agriculture. “At GFI, we are excited to see people like Bill Gates and Richard Branson investing in Memphis Meats,” Friedrich said, “but we are most excited by Cargill’s participation. Today is a watershed day for our environment, for sustainable food production, for global health, and for animals.” To date, Memphis Meats has raised $22 million in capital funding and plans to debut its premiere product to the public by 2021. Earlier this month, Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick announced his plans to engage the meat industry in changing the global food system by licensing his company’s clean meat technology—projected to debut its first product by the end of 2018—directly to major meat companies for use in creating slaughter-free meat instead of farming animals.
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