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Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Report Identifies 5 Disruptive Technologies to Shake Up Fermentation Industry

Following a comprehensive review of the fermentation sector, Lever VC, a leading venture capital firm specializing in alternative protein investments, announces the release of its latest report highlighting the top technologies that could advance the production of fermented food and ingredients. Lever VC argues that despite notable advancements in CRISPR gene editing, AI and machine learning for bioinformatics systems, and high-throughput screening technologies, challenges remain in scaling up biological processes and lowering expenses to reach price parity with animal products. The new report pinpoints five cutting-edge technologies that offer potential solutions to overcome existing barriers to transform the growing biomass and precision fermentation industries: 1. Organism strain development with potential to increase productivity 10X Different methods, such as artificial intelligence/machine learning-trained algorithms or trial-and-error approaches, promise …


Birdman love animals eat plants

© Birdman

Facts & Figures

Mexican Plant Protein Company Birdman Surpasses $65M in Sales

Lever VC, a venture capital firm focused on the future of protein, has increased its equity stake in Birdman, a leading plant-based protein company in Mexico set to expand into the US, as the company experiences a significant surge in sales. This investment comes as Birdman demonstrates impressive sales performance, achieving a $65 million sales run rate amidst a challenging economic landscape. Founded in 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Birdman rapidly bootstrapped to $15 million in sales by 2021, prior to attracting its first external funding. The company’s plant-based protein powders and supplements have gained popularity across Mexico, surpassing industry averages in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector, with EBITDA margins exceeding 35%. According to Nick Cooney, managing partner at Lever VC, which expanded its equity …


Beyond Stack Burger hero shot

© Beyond Meat

Market & Trends

Continued Decline in US Meat Consumption is “Long-Term Industry Disruption” Creating Significant Opportunity

The United States has witnessed a steady decline in meat consumption for the second consecutive year. Retail sales data from IRI Worldwide reveals that 2023 marks the second consecutive year of declining meat purchase volumes. As of October 2023, overall meat sales by volume in US grocery have dipped 4% year-over-year and 6% over the past two years. This decline is evident across various meat categories, including a 10% year-over-year drop in pork sales volumes, a 10% year-over-year drop in seafood sales volumes, and a 13% drop in turkey sales volumes.  While plant-based meat alternatives have also experienced a decline in sales volumes amidst the current economic climate, the broader shift away from animal proteins has presented increased opportunities for other plant-based food categories. Nick …


Mission Barns Bacon

© Mission Barns

Company News

Lever VC Releases SciTech Due Diligence Process for Investing in Cultivated Meat

Global alt protein venture capital fund Lever VC announces the release of its internal playbook for benchmarking the scientific progress of cultivated meat and cell-based dairy startups.  The firm’s Cultivated Meat Scientific Benchmarks white paper aims to support investors’ due diligence with the technical expertise needed to make investment decisions in the emerging cell ag industry. “We use these benchmarks to more quantitatively evaluate cultivated meat companies and identify areas where they lack progress or where certain metrics may be overly optimistic and require additional claim-vetting,” said Jonathan Avesar, Lever VC’s lead scientific advisor. Quantitative benchmarks Developed by Lever VC’s scientific and technical team over many years with data from multiple companies, the benchmarks help assess a startup’s technical credibility and potential with limited proof of concept. They are based on industry-standard progress rates …


Chinese Cultivated Meat Joes Future Food

©Joes Future Food

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Study Finds 90% of Chinese Consumers Ready to Eat Cultivated Meat 

A new study in China has revealed 90% of consumers would eat cultivated meat in the country. The encouraging figures come at an important time for the emerging Chinese cultivated meat sector, with the Chinese government’s increasing emphasis on food safety and environmental sustainability. The market report from alt protein investor Lever China and Chinese media outlet FoodPlus surveyed over 2,000 consumers across China. 90% said they would eat cultivated meat – that is meat produced by cellular agriculture – while 30% said they would make it their primary source of protein if it can achieve the same taste and texture as conventional meat. China currently consumes approximately 30% of the world’s meat, making it the largest market globally. The numbers back up significant investment …


© Tiba Tempeh

Investments & Finance

Tiba Tempeh Raises £500,000 to Make Tempeh Mainstream in the UK

British startup Tiba Tempeh has raised £500,000 in a seed funding round led by Lever VC. The company will use the funding to launch more products, make new hires, and increase its marketing efforts. Tiba Tempeh was founded by Alex and Ross Longton, who have both previously held senior roles at Kraft Heinz and other major food corporations. In 2019, the pair decided to use their experience to launch a plant-based food company, making it easier for consumers to eat a healthy diet. Tiba Tempeh is available diced and marinated in several flavours such as Sweet Chilli, Curry Spiced, and Soy Marinade. The tempeh is suitable for use in dishes such as curries and stir-fries, and the company has also recently launched what it claims …


Lever VC

© Lever VC

Investments & Finance

The “World’s Largest” Conventional Meat Companies Back Completed Lever VC $80 Million Alt Protein Fund

Alt protein venture capital fund Lever VC has announced the completion of the $80 million Lever VC Fund I. The fund has been raised to back early-stage plant-based and cell-cultured startups around the world, with a portfolio of 19 fast-growing alt protein companies on board. The backers of the completed $80 million fund hail from all over the globe, including several of the world’s largest meat companies, according to Lever VC, and some of the world’s largest ingredient, food commodity, fermentation, and AgriFeed companies – although no names have yet been disclosed. Work will begin early next year on the raising of Lever VC Fund II. The diversity of the investors shows investor confidence in the alt protein sector, and the urgency to diversify from …




Investments & Finance

THIS Secures £11M – “Highest Ever” Series A Round in UK Alt Meat

UK plant meat producer THIS™ today announced the closing of an £11 million Series A round led by BGF and Lever VC, which the brand says is the largest ever Series A fundraise for a UK based alt meat brand. “We’ve got some wacky plans for new tech and a huge lineup of plant-based products, which will make eating plant-based food that bit easier for consumers” The fresh funds will be used to support the rapid growth of the business, expand R&D capabilities and help to bring to market new products across the UK. Prior to this fundraise, THIS™ had a record-breaking seed round securing £8.7m from VC investors, Backed and Five Seasons, who are also participating in this round. CPT Capital is investing alongside …



©The New Butchers

Investments & Finance

Brazil: Fast-Growing Vegan Brand The New Butchers Announces Lever VC Investment

The New Butchers is among the fastest growing brands in Latin America; in its first 18 months of operation the brand has grown to more than 700 outlets, including Brazil‘s two largest retail chains, Pao de Acucar and CarreFour. This week the brand announces it will be funded by Lever VC, one of the largest investors in the alternative protein space.


Hero Protein-frizzled pork tenderloin

Courtesy of Lever VC

Company News

Lever China Alternative Protein Fund Announces Investments in Five Pioneering Plant-Based and Cultivated Meat Startups

The Lever China Alternative Protein Fund, including early investors in Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, announces today it has completed its first five investments in pioneering early-stage plant-based and cell-cultivated meat companies in China.                                              


good planet logo

©Good Planet Foods

Food & Beverage

GOOD PLANeT Foods Raised $12M in Series A Round, Has “Potential to Become a Leading Influential Brand”

GOOD PLANeT Foods, known for its meltable cheese products including a pizza topped with Beyond Meat, today announces $12M in a Series A round. Good PLANeT not only partners with Beyond Meat but its cheese is used to top an Impossible Foods patty at White Castle – perhaps the only brand to work with both rivals?