- Netherlands-based Mosa Meat received 16.3 million euros ($19.7 million) in new investor funding, bringing its total series B fundraising to 63 million euros (almost $75 million). The cell-based meat company known for producing the first animal-free hamburger has now raised a total of 75 million euros (nearly $91 million), a company spokesperson said.
- Mitsubishi Corp., a new investor in the cultured meat company, joins Blue Horizon Ventures, ArcTern Ventures and Rubio Impact Ventures in this funding round. Blue Horizon Ventures is the lead investor in this round.
- The funding announcement comes as U.S.-based Eat Just announced last week it had received the world's first regulatory approval for cell-based chicken in Singapore. With funds raised this year, Mosa Meat has been working to improve its methods for cell culturing, develop plant-based serum to feed the cells, and add to its pilot plant and team to scale up and seek regulatory approval.
When Mosa Meat Chief Scientific Officer Mark Post created the first cultured hamburger seven years ago, it was hailed as a glimpse into the future of food.
With last week's development in Singapore, coupled with this funding for Mosa Meat, the future is fast approaching. Mosa Meat has not yet begun the formal process to gain regulatory approval — which it will do first in Europe, Post said — but it hopes to get that started in the first half of 2021.
"We're gearing up toward full funding for the next two [to] two and a half years, with, essentially, the aim to scale up production, get regulatory approval and get a product on the market," Post said.
Post said the regulatory process in Europe should take about a year and a half, and the company is aiming to have a product on the market at the end of 2022.
Mosa Meat is the original player in this space, but it's become a lot more crowded recently. According to statistics compiled by venture capital firm Finistere Ventures, there are about 50 companies worldwide that work solely in the cultured meat space. Those companies have received $440 million in funding. (This does not include Eat Just, which also has a substantial plant-based egg business.)
The rate of funding has doubled in 2020. Much of this money has gone to well-established companies in the space — Memphis Meats, BlueNalu and New Age Meats have also had large funding rounds this year — but it's also gone to smaller players.
With the new investors, Mosa Meat is securing a vital partnership. Mitsubishi is a multifaceted international company, and Post said the division that is investing in Mosa Meat deals with agricultural feedstocks.
"We think that a lot of the components that we need to feed our cells will eventually come from that part of the industry and not from the medical-technical industry that it comes from now," Post said. "So, strategically, that's an important partner for us to further work."
This is not Mosa Meat's only affiliation with a company that works in this area. In January, Mosa Meat announced a partnership with animal nutrition company Nutreco, which has helped it develop a plant-based alternative to the pricey fetal bovine serum that was once used to feed the cultured cells. It's important to be able to make these nutrients in a cost-effective and humane way: The 2013 cultured hamburger cost 250,000 euros (roughly $280,000 in 2013) to make, mainly because of the serum. The cost to make a hamburger, the company said this summer, is now 88 times less expensive.
Having a plant-based option to feed the cells is so important that it's one reason why Mosa Meat has not yet started working toward regulatory approval, Post said. The company wanted to be using and performing well with a growth medium that was completely animal free before beginning the process, and that has taken some time. But with more funding and support from two global leaders in these types of raw materials, Mosa Meat is bound to find more success in improving its growth medium — and eventually in getting its products ready for market.