First Bite: APAC Startups Developing Plant Fats, Whole Cuts & Cultured Pet Food Backed by Climate-Centric VC Fund
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Better Bite Ventures has announced investments in three APAC food tech startups as part of its early-stage First Bite initiative and has opened applications for the next funding round.
The three startups part of the latest First Bite funding round – which offers early-stage investments of between $50,000 and $150,000 – are Singapore’s Fattastic, Australia’s Pivot Eat, and South Korea’s Everything But.
“As part of the broader transition to a net-zero economy, we need new, more sustainable ways of making food,” said Better Bite Ventures founding partner Michal Klar. “But these new products must also be tasty – only then will consumers truly buy in.”
New fats, whole cuts and cultivated pet food
Klar added: “The startups we are announcing today are pioneering new solutions to improve the taste and texture of meat and dairy alternatives.” Fattastic, for example, engineers plant-based fats to improve the sensorial and functional attributes of vegan meat and dairy analogues. Its oil structuring tech transforms plant oils into solid states to resemble animal fats. It was founded by Satnam Singh, a former researcher at A*STAR agency in Singapore.
Pivot Eat, meanwhile, is working on a novel process to enhance the structure and accelerate the scalability of plant-based whole-cut meat. Founder Ann Limley is a food scientist with over two decades of food R&D experience across Singapore, Europe and Australia.
Finally, South Korea-based Everything But is Asia’s first cultivated meat startup for pet food. One study suggests that if cats and dogs were considered their own nation, they would rank as the world’s fifth-largest meat-consuming entity. To reduce the impact of our furry friends on the environment, the startup – founded by veterinarians and scientists and helmed by CEO Yoonchan Hwang – is developing more sustainable, protein-rich pet food with high taste, texture and nutritional quality.
Klar reiterated that sustainable food products need to have better taste and textural attributes for greater consumer adoption. “Hence [the] focus on solutions like enhanced plant-based fats replacing animal fat and better structure of whole cuts. With Everything But, it is about [the] important and growing climate impact of pet food.”
Building upon previous early-stage investments
Better Bite Ventures launched the First Bite initiative last year, with a focus on APAC startups tackling food system challenges with innovative solutions. “Bold technology innovation is needed to reduce the climate impact of our current food system in Asia. The response to the First Bite initiative has been encouraging – to date, we’ve invested in seven food tech startups, and are now open for more,” said Better Bite Ventures founding partner Simon Newstead.
In April, it unveiled four investments in early-stage APAC alt-protein startups. These included Singaporean startups Allium Bio, which co-cultures microalgae and mycelium and turns them into functional ingredients like protein isolates, and Cultivaer, which is working on bioreactor-free tech to slash the costs and speed up the scalability of fermentation-derived protein. The other two startups part of the First Bite funding in April were New Zealand-based cauliflower ice cream brand EatKinda, and Klevermeat, which claims to be India’s first cultivated seafood startup.
Better Bite Ventures was launched in early 2022 by Klar and Simon Newstead as APAC’s first dedicated climate-centric food tech fund, with $15M in assets under management. It typically invests between $200,000 and $700,000 in pre-seed and seed rounds across the cultivated, precision fermentation and plant-based protein sectors.
It has already invested in over 20 food tech startups, including Aussie-American precision fermentation dairy maker Change Foods, Indian alt-meat brands Greenest and Liberate Foods, Indonesian plant-based giant Green Rebel, Australian mushroom meat maker Fable Food, Chinese cultivated meat company CellX, and Singapore-headquartered vegan meat producer TiNDLE.
Now, it’s opened applications for the next round of First BIte investments, earmarking between $50,000 to $150,000 for early-stage founders.
Disclaimer: Green Queen founder and editor-in-chief Sonalie Figueiras is a Venture Partner at Better Bite Ventures.