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Chilean AI alt meat startup The Live Green Co has successfully closed a $7 million funding round to help support expansion. The Pre-Series A was led by DRADS Capital, with investment earmarked for U.S.headquarters creation and continued AI development. Co-founder and CEO Priyanka Srinivas says the company will move its operations base to Boston ahead of tech platform improvements, IP protection activities and B2B partnership sourcing. A Series A funding round is expected within 12-15 months.
Using a proprietary AI system, dubbed Charaka, The Live Green Co has developed a database of plant food properties. Taste, texture, and functionality are all investigated with complete profiles stored. Information is used to recommend natural alternatives to animal-based ingredients, additives, and synthetic additions in food production. In-house lines have already been launched, including ice cream. The recommendation engine is gearing up to be licensed to food manufacturers around the world.
Plant-only not plant-based
Founded in 2018, The live Green Co has been engaged in compiling a comprehensive database of food qualities. Initially, the endeavour allowed for a range of proprietary food launches. Burgers, protein bars, and ice cream are some of the major five product lines available already in Chile. All were developed and launched within 20 months and with a budget of $500,000. With new funding in place, the company will seek to replicate the same success, but in the U.S. new formulations in the planning stage include chicken, dairy, snack foods, and dietary supplements.
Boston has been selected as the U.S. headquarters’ location. This offers good cohesion with DRADS Capital, which is also based in the city. When an operational base is finalised, The Live Green Co will turn its attention to IP protection, tech development, and partnership development.
“We see a very strong future-forward trend of reformulation and new product development (NPD) of ‘additives-free’ and ‘clean-label’ products, not just imitating animal products,” Srinivas said in a statement. “Most importantly, we’re taking a collaborative B2B approach to our business model in order to be large-scale change agents and help accelerate the world’s transition to healthy and sustainable food.”
Chakara has identified more than 30 product lines and 150 additives that are consumed regularly worldwide. The Live Green Co aims to suggest plant-only alternatives that can create the same eating experience while improving health and negating demand for animal products.
The licensing of Chakara will be pivotal. The Live Green Co will be transformed from food manufacturer to global plant-based resource. Licensing plans will include formulations, food data, ingredients, and finished products. Information will be shared across retailers, fellow food manufacturers, and ingredient developers. Srinivas noted that the decision to license was predicated on the idea of taking plant-based endeavours to plant-only success stories.
Successful piloting has been completed with Mexico’s Sigma. Bringing Chakara to Boston will allow for more testing, ahead of commercial licensing.
Licence to compete
The Live Green Co is not alone in developing in-house AI to replicate animal products. It’s not even the only company in Chile to be doing so, with NotCo enjoying unicorn status for the same development.
At the beginning of the year, NotCo announced that it had cracked AI-developed vegan chicken. Claiming to have replicated the taste exactly, the company is set to launch a range of nuggets and burgers within Chile, Argentina, and Brazil initially. Relying on its own AI system, called Giuseppe, NotCo recently revealed plans to focus on salmon and tuna alternatives next. A potential IPO was also floated, but as of yet, no plans to licence Giuseppe have been addressed.
All images courtesy of The Live Green Co.