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Blending Biotech And Carnivorous Cravings: Slaughter-Free Meat Producer Gets Startup Money From Cargill, Bill Gates, Tesla

Blending Biotech And Carnivorous Cravings: Slaughter-Free Meat Producer Gets Startup Money From Cargill, Bill Gates, Tesla

Imagine meat that comes not from a livestock farm or brutal poultry factory, but is genetically engineered to grow in a laboratory without actually killing animals.

It sounds far-fetched, but Cargill Inc (the biggest privately held company in the country) is joining Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) founder Bill Gates as well as Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) and entrepreneur Richard Branson in financing a startup called Memphis Meats, which aims to give carnivores what they crave without actually killing animals.

It Ain’t The Meat, It's The Motion

In a mostly overlooked announcement last week, the company released the backers of its first round of Series A financing to produce “clean meat” from beef, chicken and duck “directly from animal cells, without the need to raise and slaughter animals.”

“This announcement also marks a major moment in which meat industry leaders and mission-driven groups have come together behind one company,” it said in a press release.

It said that it’s first round of fundraising, $17 million, was engineered by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), which famously pumped money into Tesla, SpaceX and Skype.

The company said it has raised $22 million total to back what it said has been the successful creation of laboratory-grown meats.

“We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way,” Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats said in the news release. “We want the world to keep eating what it loves. However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health.”

Biotech Meets Dinner Table

“Clean meat is an enormous technological shift for humanity, and an opportunity to invest in something so important does not come along often,” Steve Jurvetson, DFJ partner, said in the news release.

“This is a moment where the investment potential and the potential to do good for the world are both off the charts. Investors have been watching this space for years, and Memphis Meats has emerged as the clear leader.”

The investment, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is the first big play in the so-called clean meat movement, in which companies use cell-replicating tech to grow beef, poultry and fish from living animal tissue.


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