California-based startup Wild Earth received $450,000 in new funding this week from billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel—the co-founder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook. The company aims to use its investment funding, totalling $5 million to date, to expand the distribution of its koji-based companion animal treats and further develop mouse-based clean meat (made by using a small amount of animal cells that are grown into meat in a laboratory setting) to be used in formulating food for cats. Wild Earth CEO Ryan Betancourt revealed that Thiel was immediately interested in supporting the company’s mission to eliminate the necessity of animal slaughter in the growing $30 billion companion animal food industry. “An investment in clean protein is an investment in transformative technology, sustainability, and the future of our planet,” Bethencourt said. “The pet food industry is a key driver of environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture, and Peter’s commitment to Wild Earth shows he is thinking long-term about global trends and the planet’s future.”
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