Eat Just, the food tech that pioneered the plant-based egg and became the world’s first to gain regulatory approval for cultured meat, has raised US$200 million in a new round of financing. The funding will go towards accelerating its growth, including increasing capacity, accelerating R&D in both its plant-based and cell-based ventures, and double down in its international markets.
San Francisco-based Eat Just has raised US$200 million in a new financing round, the company announced on Tuesday (March 22). The investment was led by the Qatar sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and saw participation from Microsoft-co-founder Paul G. Allen’s private investment arm Vulcan Capital and Boston based private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners.
Eat Just, whose last valuation stands at US$1.2 billion before this round, says the funding will be used to fuel its global growth, increase production capacity and ongoing R&D, and will see QIA and Charlesbank joining the company’s board.
In a press release on the latest funding round, Eat Just revealed it will be “advancing its work on other types of meat” within its cultured protein ventures, and will “dramatically” lower its production costs to reach a “path to price competitiveness” by 2030.
Commenting on the round, co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick, said: “We are very excited to work with our investors to build a healthier, safer and more sustainable food system. Their knowledge and experience partnering with companies that are transforming numerous industries were fundamental in our decision to partner with them.”
We are very excited to work with our investors to build a healthier, safer and more sustainable food system.Josh Tetrick, Co-Founder & CEO, Eat Just
It comes on the heels of Eat Just’s product portfolio expansion in January, adding vegan-friendly egg sous vide bites to its range in partnership with Cuisine Solutions, amid what has been a record-breaking year for its plant-based sales. According to the firm, sales of its flagship mung bean-based JUST Egg product has exceeded the equivalent of 100 million eggs, and it’s frozen folded plant-based egg has become the best-selling frozen breakfast item at major U.S. retailers.
Outside of its domestic market, Eat Just has doubled down its presence in the huge mainland Chinese market, making it on the menus of leading fast food chain Dicos, who became the first QSR to swap an animal-based product with its plant-based version.
But perhaps most notably, the company made headlines in late 2020 for being the first-ever – and still the only startup to date in the world – to have gained regulatory approval from Singapore authorities to sell its cultured meat products.
In the months and years ahead, the company will continue its leadership in the field by dramatically reducing cultured meat production costs; scaling commercial manufacturing operations; and advancing its work on other types of meat.Eat Just
Speaking at a virtual media interview to mark the world’s first-ever cultured chicken commercially sold at restaurant 1880 in Singapore a week after the food tech was given the go-ahead, CEO Tetrick made clear that Eat Just will be building its Asia presence, a strategy that will now be accelerated by its latest US$200 million capital injection.
At the time, Tetrick signaled that Singapore will be an important base for Eat Just in Asia, and potentially its global operations too, particularly in building its Good Meat brand of cell-based chicken.
“Singapore for us will be at a minimum the base for Asia. And we’re considering Singapore as the hub for global manufacturing of what we call our brand’s Good Meat, [with] a facility or two in Western Europe and a facility or two in North America,” said Tetrick.
The latest capital injection brings the startup’s total funding raised to more than US$650 million since its inception in 2011, when it was formerly known as Hampton Creek before rebranding to Eat Just after controversial allegations of food safety concerns and a buyback scheme.
Lead image courtesy of Eat Just.