Three corporate strategic investors from Europe and Asia invest in the alternative protein venture capital fund

Global alternative protein venture capital firm Lever VC has announced the completion of a $46 million fourth close of its first fund. The company said the third and fourth close included the addition of three corporate strategic investors from Europe and Asia, as well as capital from NFL and NBA athletes, British nobility, and a range of family offices from different parts of the world.

Lever VC didn’t disclose names but stated that one of the world’s largest agrifood companies, with annual revenue over $50 billion USD, is among the strategic investors.

With a focus on supporting the growth of the alternative protein marketplace, Lever VC invests in early-stage plant-based and cell-cultivated meat and dairy companies. The company’s first fund has built a portfolio of 14 fast-growing alternative protein start-ups across the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

In the seven quarters between July 2019 to March this year, the fund’s portfolio has grown 2.3 times in value based on valuation or valuation cap at the most recent funding round.

“We are pleased to have welcomed a variety of great, value-add corporate strategic and family office investors into the Lever VC Fund,” said Lever VC managing partner Nick Cooney. “The fund’s third and fourth closes included capital from NBA and NFL athletes, British nobility, alternative protein industry veterans, and leading European and Asian food corporates that will bring tremendous reach to our portfolio companies.”

Portfolio companies

Lever VC has made lead investments into high-tech start-ups. TurtleTree Labs, Mission Barns, and Avant are all portfolio companies in the cellular agriculture space, creating milk, fat and meat from cells, respectively.

Other portfolio companies include Bond Pet Foods, which seeks to produce meat protein from fermentation, and Mozza, a producer of animal protein from plants.

Lever VC Fund I invested in Bluu, the first European start-up to produce cell-based seafood. The fund is also an investor in Better Meat Co, which develops a technology to produce hybrid meat and alternative protein products.

Some of the early-stage investments in the plant-based space include cheese maker Good Planet Foods, ready-to-eat meals company A Dozen Cousins, and Blackbird Foods, the maker of wheat protein and plant-based pizzas – all companies are based in the US.

UK company Grounded, the maker of plant-based dairy protein drinks, is also a portfolio company of Lever VC, as well as French start-up The Good Spoon, the maker of vegan mayonnaise.

Lever VC invested in Chinese plant-based dairy start-up Marvelous Foods. and in plant-based meat producer The New from Brazil.

Lever VC tracks over 1,600 alternative protein companies globally, with team members on the ground in the US, the UK, France, Netherlands, Israel, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China.

The fund’s partners had previously invested in leading alternative protein companies including Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, JUST, Memphis Meats, Mosa Meats, Aleph Farms and others.

Lever VC said the fund remains open to new investors and plans to hold its final close in June.

Date published: 13 April 2021

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