Davis, California-based foodtech company California Cultured has raised $ 2.2 million in a seed round led by cellular agriculture firm Agronomics, with participation by global venture firm SOSV’s IndieBio.
California Cultured uses cell culture technology to produce cocoa products. Approximately 70% of the world’s cocoa supply currently comes from Western Africa, specifically Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, where according to the World Cocoa Foundation, there are concerns over deforestation.
Jim Mellon, non-executive director of Agronomics said: “Agronomics are pleased to join California Cultured on their path to commercialise synthetic cocoa products without impeding on the natural environment. Their technology should support stabilising production of cocoa in the future and has the potential to enable future chocolate demand to be met.”
Alan Perlstein, co-founder and chief executive of California Cultured, added: “Agronomics’ network of resources within biotech along with our mutual interest of radically transforming food and agriculture made them an easy choice as an investor and strategic partner. With Agronomics and our other investors behind us, we are well on our way to changing the way we eat chocolate.”
Po Bronson, managing director of IndieBio, commented: “California Cultured’s chocolate tastes absolutely amazing. The cacao cells are grown in the lab very economically, and then they’re made into chocolate in traditional methods. Start-ups are attacking chocolate’s dark secrets a number of ways, from upcycling ag wastes to using precision fermentation for flavours. But only cell-based chocolate is true, premium chocolate.”
Date published: 22 October 2021