Today, Oakland, CA-based food technology startup Perfect Day announced that it closed a $140 million investment round led by Temesek, an investment firm owned by the government of Singapore. Founded by biomedical engineers and vegans Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, the company creates proteins that are identical to cow milk proteins through a process that relies on yeast-based microflora that does not require animal exploitation. Through its process, Perfect Day is able to create a multitude of “flora-based” products that are indistinguishable from dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and ice cream. To prove its concept, Perfect Day launched a 1,000-pint limited batch of flora-based ice cream in July—which, despite its hefty $20+ per pint price tag, sold out in less than 24 hours. “In 2019, we showed that our manufacturing process works robustly at commercial scale,” Pandya said. “We were able to demonstrate with our ice cream launch—which sold out in a single day—that flora-based protein delivers on the dairy experience, and that people are excited about what we’re doing. Our focus in 2020 will be manufacturing and commercializing the protein in multiple continents, through multiple partnerships spanning different dairy product categories.” To make the largest impact, Perfect Day is not focusing on creating consumer-facing products, and is instead partnering with companies that make traditional dairy products that will be able to produce flora-based versions using the startups proprietary proteins. Perfect Day—which has raised more than $200 million in total investment funding to date—will announce its first commercial partnerships in early 2020.
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