Multinational food giants and big meat companies have jumped to back Lever VC’s alternative protein focused fund, which closed with $80 million. The fund is dedicated to investing in food techs using novel plant-based, cell-based and fermentation technologies to develop sustainable alternatives to animal protein, and currently boasts a portfolio of 19 companies.
Lever VC has announced on Wednesday (September 15) that it has secured $80 million in its final close of its Fund I. While specific investors were not disclosed, the New York and Hong Kong-based fund said the round attracted funding from “several of the world’s largest meat companies”, as well as ingredient, food commodities, European fermentation companies and two of the world’s largest agri-feed firms from China and Southeast Asia.
Other investors joining the round include family offices, including those of some of the “largest retail groups in several countries.” In its first $23 million funding round last year, Fund I saw 70% of the backing coming from Hong Kong and Asian family offices.
Big food is bullish on alt-protein
Commenting on the latest financing, Lever VC managing partner Nick Cooney says that the support from large food corporations is a signal of the confidence in the disruptive potential of novel food technologies.
“We’re grateful to be partnered with some of the biggest food companies from China, Southeast Asia, the US and Europe, as well as value-add family offices,” he said.
Cooney added that Lever VC is now gearing up to kickstart its Fund II in 2022, as global investment interest into the space continues to grow. Last year, global alternative protein funding tripled to an all-time high of $3.1 billion. “[We’re] looking forward to beginning the raise of Lever VC Fund II early next year on the back of large pre-commitments from existing LPs and strong interest from institutional investors.”
Lever VC Fund I
So far, Lever VC Fund I has backed 19 companies across the plant-based, cell-based and fermentation alternative protein sectors. These companies hail from 10 countries around the world, including in Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Russia, the UK, Germany, Spain, Brazil and the US.
Some of the names in the fund’s portfolio include Singapore’s cell-based milk maker TurtleTree Labs, Hong Kong’s cultivated seafood player Avant Meats and THIS, the cult favourite British vegan meat brand that has experienced 530% year-on-year growth. It has also backed startups like Barcelona-based Heura, US vegan cheese brand Good Planet Foods, mycoprotein startup Better Meat Co. and most recently, CellX, a Chinese food tech that just debuted cultivated pork.
According to Lever VC, its portfolio companies have recorded up to double-digit growth in valuation or valuation caps, with three of the firms set to launch follow-on rounds before the end of the year.
“We’re pleased with the strong growth in value, sales and technology of our current portfolio, and we’ll continue to invest in more stellar companies over the next year,” shared Cooney.
Lead image courtesy of THIS.