UAE-based KBW Ventures, the venture capital (VC) firm founded by Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, son of Saudi Arabia billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has invested in a $161 million Series B for US-based cell-based meat, poultry and seafood company Memphis Meats. The round was led by SoftBank Group, Norwest and Temasek, and was joined by other new and existing investors including Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Threshold Ventures, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Finistere, Future Ventures, Kimbal Musk, Fifty Years, CPT Capital and Vulcan Capital.
Memphis Meats plans to use the funding to build a pilot production facility, continue to grow its team and launch its products into the market. The company has not yet announced a date for product launch, and is working with regulatory agencies to ensure a timely and safe market entry.
“We are excited to welcome these investors into our Big Tent,” said Uma Valeti, co-founder and
chief executive officer (CEO) of Memphis Meats. “Memphis Meats is revolutionising how meat is brought to every table around the world. We are providing compelling and delicious choices by producing real meat from animal cells, its natural building blocks. Cell-based meat is poised to dramatically expand humanity’s capacity to feed a growing global population while preserving our culinary traditions and protecting our planet.”
The funding round is considered to be the largest ever investment in the cell-based meat industry, enabling Memphis Meats to bring its products to consumers. To date, the company has raised more than $180 million in total funding.
“The reality is that conventional production methods for meat can't keep up with global demand, which is expected to double by 2050. Cell-based meat addresses this issue while offering enormous potential to improve the environment and have a positive impact on food safety and animal welfare,” said Priti Youssef Choksi, partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “Memphis Meats is on a mission to serve up real meat without the compromise. We are thrilled to partner with this visionary team.”
The VC recently invested in Singapore-based TurtleTree Labs, a biotechnology company that uses technology to create real milk from animal cells.