China-based cultivated meat company Jimi Biotech has closed an angel funding round of ¥20 million ($3 million USD) led by Plum Ventures and Fanqie Capital with funding from Green Leaf Ventures and Joyvio Capital.
Jimi Biotech, which launched in 2021, says the new funding will assist with key talent hires and its ongoing R&D efforts. The funding follows its cultivated beef launch just over a year ago.
The fast-moving cultivated meat industry
“Plum Ventures’ investment focus has always included both consumer goods and cutting-edge technology, and cultivated meat is at the intersection of the two; Fanqie Capital has a great portfolio of food and beverage companies, as well as extensive supply chain investment in the food sector, which will help us better enter the market in the future; Green Leaf Ventures has always focused on ESG, which is exactly what we are seeking for in terms of social welfare. Joyvio Capital, a firm believer in cultivated meat, and is committed to continued investment in the field,” Zhehou Cao, the founder of Jimi Biotech, said in a statement. According to Cao, Jimi’s investors share the value and goals of the brand, bringing along resources as well.
“In the fast-moving cultivated meat industry, we highly value Jimi’s in-depth and unique thinking on the technical path and future product forms of cultivated meat,” said Shichun Wu, founding partner of Plum Ventures.
“Jimi has established its leadership position in cultivated meat technologies, and with its strong capabilities in both R&D and commercialization, we believe that Jimi will become a unicorn company in cultivated meat in the future. Plum Ventures hopes to leverage its rich resources to help Jimi achieve this great cause,” Wu said.
Yong Qing, founder of food-focused Fanqie Capital says the Jimi Biotech team has strong backgrounds in both engineering and biology, which plays a role in its tech-forward platform.
“Its strategy focuses on independent research and development and is not in a hurry to launch products in the short term,” Qing said, calling Jimi an “excellent early entrepreneurial team.”
Qing says Fanqie Capital is optimistic about the cultivated meat market in the long run, “and also believes in the ability of Jimi Biotech to become a market leader. In the future, Fanqie will bring its own resources in the food sector to continue to empower Jimi.”
‘New forms of meat’
The company is working to develop “new forms” of meat through its new technology. It says its goal is to reduce public health risks, and address food safety, environmental pollution, and animal welfare problems caused by industrial animal farming, while also working toward a sustainable and slaughter-free protein production chain.
The last year has seen Jimi develop a serum-free and animal-component-free culture media for cultivated meat. It says the media works better than fetal bovine serum. The company has also reduced media costs by 20 times and implemented a media recycling system that sees microorganisms replace expensive media components and use waste media as their culture. The company has made other advancements across myoblasts, feeder cell systems, and scaffolding.
“Cultivated meat requires expertise from many fields, so it is crucial for the team to have innovative thinking and multi-disciplinary discussions,” Cao said.
“[T]o fully convince consumers, we ultimately need to have an outstanding product.”