Food technology company Motif announced its launch today after raising $90 million in Series A funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures—a fund that includes billionaires such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Virgin founder Richard Branson. Motif aims to help plant-based food producers reach larger demographics through its biotechnology platform. The company focuses on applying fermentation to proteins typically derived from animal products to create next-generation plant-based ingredients that mimic eggs, meat, and cheese—akin to the soy hemoglobin that Impossible Foods uses to give its Impossible Burger a beef-like quality. “Sustainability and accessible nutrition are among the biggest challenges facing the food industry today. Consumers are demanding mindful food options, but there’s a reigning myth that healthy and plant-based foods must come at a higher price, or cannot taste or function like the animal-based foods they aim to replicate,” Motif CEO Jonathan McIntyre—who previously led research and development at Pepsi—said. “Biotechnology and fermentation is our answer, and Motif will be key to propelling the next food revolution with affordable, sustainable, and accessible ingredients that meet the standards of chefs, food developers, and visionary brands.” Motif will operate out of a Boston-based facility owned by Ginkgo Bioworks, a bioengineering platform that features a library of yeasts and bacteria that can be fermented to produce a wide range of food ingredients. Earlier this month, Breakthrough Energy Ventures participated in a $33 million Series A funding round for Sustainable Bioproducts—a startup that is using microorganisms from a volcanic hot spring inside the Yellowstone National Park to develop plant- and cell-based foods.

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