Aussie Startup Vow Bags US$6M Seed Funding To Grow Cultured Exotic Meats Library

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Australian food tech Vow has announced the closing of an oversubscribed US$6 million seed round, which will go towards expanding its “library” of cultured meats. Unlike other cell-based startups, Vow has cultivated exotic animal meats and is now positioning itself as a sector leader in developing sustainable proteins that “outperform conventional meat” in terms of taste and experience. 

Announced on Thursday (January 7), food tech Vow has bagged US$6 million in a seed funding round led by Australian venture capital firm Square Peg Capital, with participation from Blackbird Ventures, Grok Ventures and Tenacious Ventures. The round also saw the appointment of Square Peg Capital principal James Tynan to the Sydney-based startup’s board. 

This latest round of investment allows us to focus on the culinary opportunity and make food that really excites people.

Tim Noakesmith, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer, Vow

In a press statement, the company said that the new capital will enable further growth of its line of cultivated proteins from multiple species, with a view to “outperform meat, instead of simply replacing it”. 

Since its inception in 2019, Vow has held the title of being the first startup to cultivate meat from the cells of an undomesticated animal, and has served up its exotic meats last year in a demonstration led by celebrity chef Neil Perry, which featured kangaroo to alpaca among its six-dish line-up. 

“This latest round of investment allows us to focus on the culinary opportunity and make food that really excites people,” commented Tim Noakesmith, co-founder and chief commercial officer of Vow. 

Vow co-ounders Tim Noakesmith (L) & George Peppou (R)

To grow its cultured meat platform, the startup is currently building its food design studio and laboratory in its home city of Sydney, and has quadrupled the size of its team from five to 22 over the past year.

It’s about a category of products totally distinct from, and better than, what animals are capable of producing.

George Peppou, Co-Founder & CEO, Vow

 “We’ve placed a deep focus on culture and individual personal development, and it’s been one of the best investments we’ve made,” said Dr. James Ryall, chief scientific officer at Vow. 

The startup says that with the recent landmark regulatory approval of Eat Just’s cultured chicken in Singapore in a world’s first, it believes that 2021 will be a watershed year for the entire cultivated protein industry. What will set Vow apart from the rest is its ambitious goal of carving out an entirely new segment of cultured meats that can “outperform” its conventional counterparts. 

George Peppou, co-founder and CEO of Vow, explains: “There’s no doubt that cultured meat is becoming available and will soon be mainstream, as evident earlier this month with the world’s first cultured meat product approved for sale in Singapore. This is about so much more than an alternative to animal agriculture, it’s about a category of products totally distinct from, and better than, what animals are capable of producing.”

“We believe that the only way to change the behaviour of billions of people is to make many products that are simply better than what we have today,” co-founder Noakesmith added. 

“It’s a bonus to know that these are the same foods that will allow us to live in harmony with our planet and move away from the climate emergency associated with our current food systems.” 


All images courtesy of Vow, lead image: kangaroo meat dumpling.


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