Cargill invests in lab-grown meat outfit

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Memphis Meats has received significant investment from Cargill
Memphis Meats has received significant investment from Cargill
Meat giant Cargill has joined business tycoons Bill Gates and Richard Branson by investing millions of dollars in lab-grown meat start-up Memphis Meats. 

The San Francisco-based firm secured $17 million (m) of investment. Capital will be used to reduce manufacturing costs to levels below traditional meat production, quadruple the Memphis Meats’ workforce and accelerate throughput.

To date, the company has raised $22m which has enabled it to make beef, chicken and duck from animal cells without slaughtering livestock.

Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats said the group of new investors would speed up expansion.

“Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world,”​ he added.

“We want the world to keep eating what it loves. However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”

Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures at Cargill Protein, added: “We are committed to growing our traditional protein business and investing in innovative new proteins to ultimately provide a complete basket of goods to our customers.

“Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market. Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”

Steve Jurvetson, a partner the venture capitalise firm DFJ that has previously backed Tesla and SpaceX, said: “Clean meat is an enormous technological shift for humanity, and an opportunity to invest in something so important does not come along often.

“This is a moment where the investment potential and the potential to do good for the world are both off the charts. Investors have been watching this space for years, and Memphis Meats has emerged as the clear leader. It is thrilling to watch the team work, and to try the products, which the entire DFJ team agreed are the real thing. I am so excited for the future that Memphis Meats will create.”

Jurvetson will now join Memphis Meats’ board of directors.

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