The Australian company wants to feed the world with exotic meats produced from cells
Vow Foods in Australia has raised $6 million in a seed funding round led by Square Peg Capital. The start-up, based in Sydney, aims to produce meats from cells and is growing a bio-library from different animals. As well as the traditional varieties of beef, pork and chicken, Vow has set its sights on exotic meats, including kangaroo, yak and lion. Currently, there are 11 species in Vow’s cell library.
George Peppou and Tim Noakesmith co-founded Vow Foods in March last year, and the start-up has grown to 20 staff.
“We’re on a mission: to make sustainable food both irresistible and available
to billions of people,” reads a statement on the company website. “We create real and delicious meat from cells, instead of breeding and killing animals. Six weeks is all it takes from a handful of cells to plating the finished meal. It’s a logical and considerate alternative from which more people enjoy the highest quality meat.”
James Tynan, principal at Square Peg, said in an investment note that Vow’s strategy is to create a library of stem cells from a wide range of animals – most of which have never been domesticated. “They’re creating an automated process to find the cells that grow quickly, taste good and are healthy. From there they are building the technology to combine those different cells into brand new foods.”
Tynan revealed that Vow has built a robotic experimental pipeline that has reduced the cost of its growth media by over 10x.
Proof of concept
Vow Foods organised a taste testing of its kangaroo dumpling in 2019, and has held culinary demonstrations showcasing six of its cell-based meat products.
The company is focused on further R&D work and plans to open a food design studio and laboratory in Sydney.
The team will be working with chefs, designers and scientists to tailor the process to construct a new food category. Vow argues that doing things from the ground up is the logical way to incorporate novel features into the final plated product.
“Our team is constantly scouring the Earth,” the company claims, noting efforts are into discovering the secrets hidden in creatures we’d never thought to ask. “With no harm caused, we’re exploring options previously ignored, and raising the odds of making better meat.”
NutritionInvestor understands that Tenacious Ventures and existing investors Blackbird Ventures and Grok Ventures have also participated in the seed round.
Date published: 7 January 2021