The $15 million fund includes an initial portfolio of 10 Asia-Pacific start-ups
Michael Klar (Image from Better Bite Ventures’ website)

New Zealand-based venture capital firm Better Bite Ventures has launched a $15 million fund, including an initial portfolio of 10 Asia-Pacific start-ups, harnessing plant-based and cellular agriculture technologies to create climate-friendly meat, dairy, egg and seafood alternatives.

The fund, dedicated entirely to alt protein investments in Asia-Pacific, is backed by impact investors, growth stage fund managers, family offices, as well as food and tech entrepreneurs from Asia, the US and Europe. It invests primarily at founding, pre-seed and seed stages.

Better Bite Ventures was created by Michal Klar and Simon Newstead, two Asia-Pacific-based operators turned impact investors.

Klar said: “We’re here to invest in bold founders building Asia’s future foodtech unicorns. Now is the time for Asia – we believe home-grown companies with local insights will take a leading role in this rapidly growing market.”

Newstead added: “Having been founders ourselves, we know how helpful having truly supportive investors can be. Being responsive with founder-friendly terms, a lack of red tape and a focus on long term sustainability, we aim to be a trusted partner right from the start.”

The launch portfolio includes companies involved with plant-based, cell-based, precision and biomass fermentation and molecular farming from China, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, They are:

  • Blue Canopy, a Chinese firm mass-market alt protein ingredients using biomass fermentation, co-founded by Chenfeng Lu and Juchuan Zhou
  • CellX, a Chinese cultivated meat start-up, co-founded by Ziliang Yang, Ning Xiang, Binlu Huang and Ran Liu
  • Change Foods, founded in Australia and producing cheese with precision fermentation technology, co-founded by David Bucca and Professor Junior Te’o
  • Fable Food Co, headquartered in Australia, transforming mushrooms into meat, co-founded by Michael Fox and Jim Fuller
  • Green Rebel Foods, a plant-based meat and dairy start-up, co-founded by Helga Angelina and Max Mandias in Indonesia
  • Me&, addressing the human milk and infant nutrition market with cell-based technology, co-founded by Esha Saxena and Luis Malaver-Ortega in Australia
  • Meatiply, developing cultivated poultry in Singapore, co-founded by Elwin Tan, Jason Chua, Benjamin Chua and Professor Teh Bin Tean
  • Next Gen Foods, makers of Tindle plant-based chicken, co-founded by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, based in Singapore
  • Umami Meats, addressing sustainability issues of seafood by developing cell-cultured fish, founded by Mihir Pershad in Singapore
  • And a stealth molecular farming start-up.

The Better Bite Ventures team also includes venture partner Sonalie Figueiras, founder of Green Queen Media, an impact media platform and SourceGreenPackaging, a global marketplace for sustainable packaging.

Figueiras said: “Having known Michal and Simon in the space for years, I know how switched on and impact driven they are. I’m delighted to join as a senior advisor and industry collaborator,”

Better Bite Ventures is inviting all start-up founders in the region, both active and aspiring, to get in touch.

Simon Newstead (image from Better Bite Ventures’ website)

Date published: 28 February 2022

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