Biotechnology startup New Culture recently closed a $3.5 million seed funding round led by Evolv Ventures, the $100 million venture fund backed by food company Kraft Heinz. Founded in 2018 by Matt Gibson and Inja Radman, the startup creates vegan mozzarella by inserting a DNA sequence into microbes that instructs their fermentation process and creates vegan casein micelle (a particle element of casein) that is identical to that derived from cow’s milk but without the need to use the animal in any way for milk production. “Fully plant-based cheese doesn’t work, and we know why. It lacks the crucial component which gives dairy cheese its signature properties, and that is the casein micelle, a supramolecular structure of dairy proteins that are found only in mammalian milk,” Radman said. “We are developing the technology to make those casein micelles without involving animals in the process.” After completing its participation in startup incubator program IndiBio last year, New Culture aimed to raise $2.8 million to support its business development but, as of this month, has raised substantially more. “We’re really excited about what the next 18 to 24 months holds for New Culture,” Gibson said. “We are experiencing one of the most significant and important food movements of our time. We are fortunate to be in a position to join other fantastic companies in building a more efficient and sustainable global food industry.” In April, prior to raising $3.5 million, Gibson said that its vegan mozzarella would make its public debut—likely at high-end restaurants—in approximately 18 months should the company raise sufficient capital.
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