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Mirai Foods, the only cultivated meat player in Switzerland so far, has announced the closing of a US$2.4 million seed funding round. The Zürich-based startup says the investment will help accelerate R&D, develop its first commercial product and ultimately bring its GMO-free cultured proteins to market in Europe.
Mirai Foods announced last Tuesday (January 25) the closing of its US$2.4 million seed financing, which saw backing from tech investors Team Europe and Finnish food corporation Paulig Group, who lists Santa Maria and Gold&Green amongst its subsidiary brands. The one-year-old Zürich startup says that the capital will be used to accelerate development of its GMO-free cultivated meat and create its first commercial product, starting with beef.
Other undisclosed investors range from family offices, mission-aligned angel investors and biotech and high-tech focused venture capital funds, said the startup.
Paulig Group, with their extensive experience in the food industry, is an ideal partner for product development and distribution. Team Europe has a super strong track record in building and supporting global players.Christoph Mayr, Co-Founder & CEO, Mirai Foods
Commenting on its first tranche of funding, Mirai Foods’ co-founder and CEO Christoph Mayr said: “We are proud to have such a strong and diverse pool of investors aboard for this journey.”
“Paulig Group, with their extensive experience in the food industry, is an ideal partner for product development and distribution. Team Europe has a super strong track record in building and supporting global players. Like us, they have a very commercially driven mindset and want to reach customers as soon as possible.”
Mirai Foods is currently the only cell-based food tech player in Switzerland and stands as one of the few globally that do not use any genetic manipulation or engineering in the process, but instead “keeps the cells as they naturally occur in the animal”.
Ultimately, the firm says its goal is to produce and sell its slaughter-free and GMO-free cultivated meats, especially in Europe, where it believes “consumers will appreciate that distinction”. While it will aim to produce a range of cultivated proteins, Mirai Foods is initially focused on cell-based beef, as it is one of the most emissions-intensive and widely consumed animal proteins on the planet, and debuted its first cell-based beef prototype last summer.
In addition, Mirai Foods says that it believes it will stand out in the cell-based market due to its innovative technology that is “designed to offer superior health benefits” and will present “better value” to customers.
It only took them six months to develop the first prototype and we are very excited to be part of this team’s journey.Marika King, Head of PINC, Paulig Group
So far, the only startup that has managed to get its cell-based meat on the market is San Francisco-based food tech Eat Just, who has sold its cultured chicken bites in Singapore.
Commenting on the decision to back the Swiss startup, Marika King, head of Paulig Group’s venture capital arm PINC, described Mirai Foods as a “second-generation player in this field” and noted the “extremely fast” speed of its development.
“It only took them six months to develop the first prototype and we are very excited to be part of this team’s journey. It is a great fit for PINC and Paulig. We want to actively support the development of new sustainable and healthy food,” said King.
All images courtesy of Mirai Foods.