3 Mins Read
The CEO of cultivated pork startup New Age Eats announced in a social media post that the company is shutting down after just under 5 years of operation.
Founder and CEO Brian Spears broke the news on social media writing that “we made the painful decision to shut down New Age Eats” amidst a tumultuous funding environment and a lack of runway to continue.
“As the CEO, I take ultimate responsibility for this shutdown. When we started ~5 years ago, we had no blueprint to develop and commercialize cultivated meat. I am grateful to everyone who supported our brilliant, talented team as we learned along the way,” he said.
Earlier this year, Spears penned another social media post in which he shared that New Age Eats was letting go of the company’s pilot manufacturing facility in the Bay Area’s Alameda city food innovation hub, The Research Park at Marina Village and asked potential buyers to reach out. “Construction is 90% complete (put your final touches on it!) and 80% paid for (we’re walking away from significant investment because, well, we have to). You’d be move-in ready in 1-2 months…We will take the best offer in the next few weeks!”
Spears confirmed today the company was unable to find a buyer for the plant and was not able to secure additional funding: “Unfortunately, with recent capital market turmoil, we have been unable to attract investment.” He told AgFunder News earlier today that things changed starting the second quarter of last year: “The shift in capital markets beginning around spring 2022 has made life challenging for startups across the board, he said.”
New Age Eats was focused on bringing cultivated pork sausages to market and had raised over $32 million dollars since its founding in June 2018 and backers included seasoned food and tech VCs like IndieBio, TechU Ventures and Siddhi Capital. The company reeled in a $25 million Series A investment round back in October 2021 led by South Korean energy and real estate conglomerate Hanwha Solutions and at the time had been vocal about a launch plan that included both the US and Asia.
Spears was hopeful about the state of the cultivated meat sector going forward, writing that “While our company will no longer survive, multiple companies will pick up the baton and use our technology to further our shared mission.”
He was candid about the challenge of creating a cultivated meat company and alluded to how complicated it was to match investment timelines in a R&D context that requires long timelines: “Creating the experience of meat without slaughter is extremely difficult. We start with biotech borrowed from human health applications designed for high cost, low volume products. We worked to flip to low cost, high volume products. That is expensive, takes time, and needs a lot of patient capital.”
Spears also expressed his gratitude for all the support the company has received to date. “Lastly, I want to express profound gratitude to everyone who supported me and the team along the way. I’m also grateful to those who worked against us. Without them, I wouldn’t have learned what I did, that everything is one – no crest without trough, buyer without seller, villain without victim. My gratitude is for everything in this beautiful existence that we share. Ideally, my future work leads to broadly sharing that increased appreciation.”
Spears has been outspoken about the importance of focusing on founder mental health and in his latest post, he said he was encouraged that this topic was gaining more attention: “The toll on my mental heaIth to gain these perspectives over the years has been tremendous. I am encouraged that mental health – including of founders – is being more openly discussed.”