Chilean challenger brand NotCo to hit $250 million valuation

The maker of plant-based milk, mayonnaise, ice cream and meat is about to close an $85 million funding round
Plant-based mayonnaise by NotCo
Photo as seen on the NotCo Facebook page

The Not Company (NotCo), a foodtech business established in Santiago, Chile’s capital city, is about to close an $85 million funding round with an expected valuation of $250 million, Tech Crunch has reported citing unnamed sources familiar with the company’s plans.

NotCo uses artificial intelligence (AI) to recreate dairy and meat products using only plant-based ingredients. Its flagship product is Not Mayo, a mayonnaise made from chickpeas. The range comprises original, garlic, olive, and spicy flavours, and is packed in jars and pouches ranging from 300 to 750 grams.

The company expanded its portfolio with a range of milk, ice cream and hamburgers. Products are sold in retail stores and online in Chile, Spain and the US, according to the company website.

In March last year, the challenger brand partnered with Grupo Pão de Açúcar, a Brazilian supermarket chain, to enter South America’s biggest market.

The capital raise comes on the heels of a $30 million Series A round that closed in March 2019 led by The Craftory investment fund, with participation from Bezos Expeditions, the investment house of Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos.

News reports have named private equity firm L Catterton Partners and the Biz Stone-backed Future Positive as likely investors in the new financing round. Previous investors in NotCo include IndieBio and SOS Ventures.

AI-based recipe

NotCo was founded in 2015 by Karim Pichara, Matias Muchnick and Pablo Zamora. The company entered the market to produce plant-based products using an AI model they called ‘Giuseppe’, and teamed up with chefs to generate the recipes of its Not Mayo, Not Milk, and Not Meat products.

The video below, part of ‘The Age of AI’ series, features the NotCo platform.

Giuseppe is trained to generate a recipe using ingredients in its database to match the particular taste, colour, or texture of a given food. The AI platform also has access to the underlying chemical components of the food and predicts which combination of ingredients, and the proportion of them, is best suited to make any given food. Chefs play an important part to ensure the end-product matches their product specifications.