Animal-free meat startup Redefine Meat said it raised $29 million in an equity-based financing round that will be used to expand its plant-based meat portfolio and support its commercial launch and international growth in 2021. This funding round was raised just in time for the scheduled completion of a large-scale production facility of industrial alternative meat (alt-meat) 3D printers, set to launch later this year.
Redefine relies on proprietary 3D printing technology, meat digital modeling, and advanced food formulations to produce animal-free meat with the appearance, texture, and flavor of whole muscle meat steaks. Moving forward, the Rehovot, Israel-based startup, expects to sell its proprietary system and plant-based “inks” to meat distributors worldwide.
Led by venture capital firms Happiness Capital, from Hong Kong, and Israel-based Hanaco Ventures, the A-series funding is the second financing round for Redefine, having now raised a total of $35 million in two years. The leading investors are joined by CPT Capital, the venture arm of private equity veteran Jeremy Coller and an early supporter of Redefine Meat. Other notable new international investors include the Guatemalan-based Losa Group; finance consultant Sake Bosch, the founder of Netherlands’ Prime Ventures; and K3 Ventures, from Singapore.
Redefine’s CEO, Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, said in a LinkedIn post that this new funding milestone is “making our vision a reality.” The startup’s success is a combination of technology, investors, strategic partners, and a great team, described Ben-Shitrit. He also expects the next step will be “bringing delicious Alt-Meat to everyone around the world.” With an over 90% acceptance rate among meat-eaters on key metrics such as taste, texture, and mouthfeel, Redefine’s alt-meat products are ready for a global launch in 2021. Starting with a large-scale pilot line and product launch in Europe, the company plans to expand to Asian and U.S. markets next.
Fueled by a growing concern over the sustainability of the meat industry, its ability to meet the food demands of the world’s growing population, and a more empathetic consideration for animals, Redefine seeks to offer a superior meat production technology to create a premier food brand that is indistinguishable from high-quality animal meat. Since its foundation in 2018, Redefine has developed a patent-pending 3D meat printing technology that replicates the texture, flavor, and eating experience of beef and other high-value meat products.
Relying on advanced technologies to produce alt-meats could support the development of a highly productive and flexible supply chain, dramatically more sustainable than current animal factory farming and meat processing. The traditional meat industry has proven unreliable amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, leading investors to flock to “fake” meat companies.
Even the billionaire founders of Amazon, Virgin, and Microsoft are recommending a shift to meat substitutes. In a recent interview with MIT Technology Review, Bill Gates urged all rich nations to shift to 100% synthetic beef industries. Similarly, Jeff Bezos said to Wired that there is a need to invest in companies developing meat alternatives to reduce the “global anthropogenic greenhouse emissions from livestock.” Redefine’s mission has been to expand the substitute meat market with various high-quality plant-based products that appeal to avid meat-lovers. Creating these “craveable” animal-free steaks offers a 95% more sustainable, significantly healthier, and less expensive experience than beef.
The new financing will be ideal for the brand’s expansion. Eric Ng, CEO of Happiness Capital, said his company is on the lookout for “disruptive technology” and “ambitious leadership teams” in industries that can bring “real happiness to people.” Even though the seasoned investor sees a disruptive quality in the fast-growing alternative meat sector, he believes there is currently a gap in the capability to meet the demands of people who still want to eat traditional meat. According to Ng, Redefine Meat bridges that gap by offering “a unique solution that appeals to meat-eaters with tasty and sustainable food.” With technology that is ready for production and strong strategic partners, Redefine is poised to deliver high-quality alternatives that can make a meaningful impact on global meat consumption, said the expert.
2021 is turning out to be a stellar year for Redefine. Aside from the generous funding, the startup announced its first strategic agreement with premium-quality Israeli meat distributor, Best Meister, following the success of the world’s largest carnivore-targeted blind tasting of alt-meat. The blind taste-test set up by both companies surpassed expectations as over 600 unassuming meat-eaters from a small suburb of Tel-Aviv, Israel, found Redefine’s alt-meat indistinguishable from animal meat, with over 90% acceptance rate. The two companies set up a carnivore-branded food truck that boasted staple Mediterranean meat foods cooked to order. Focusing consumer senses entirely on the alt-meat’s appearance, flavor, and texture, Redefine’s product was served with little to no condiments or extras.
The success of the pilot test marked a historic moment for Redefine, playing a pivotal role in the formation of a strategic partnership with Best Meister. Renowned for its high-quality meat selection, the company will provide Redefine the go-to-market infrastructure and reach to launch in the Israeli culinary sector and start commercially distributing Redefine’s products to restaurants and high-end butcher shops in the first half of 2021.
After almost three years of perfecting its brand, Redefine is confident that meat lovers will never have to compromise on the experience of eating meat and that its alternative steak can be produced in the volume and cost required for large-scale commercial markets. With new investment coming in, strategic alliances, and a carnivore-approved brand, it seems 2021 might be the year Redefine will begin commercializing its “fake” meats and the novel, patented technology to create them.
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