SG Digest: World’s first commercial cultivated meat facility opens; BuzzAR raises $630K

Photo: Eat Just

The world’s first commercial cultured meat production facility has become operational in Singapore. In a separate development in the city-state, AR and AI startup BuzzAR has raised $630,000.

World’s first commercial cultured meat production facility opens

Singapore-based contract manufacturer Esco Aster, a subsidiary of Esco Lifesciences, has opened the world’s first commercial cultivated meat production facility in July in Singapore, The Straits Times reported.

The facility helps San Francisco-based alt protein firm Eat Just produce its cell-based chicken bites, which was also the world’s first cultivated meat product to receive regulatory approval for sale. Before this facility opened, Eat Just’s cultivated chicken could not be produced in Singapore.

Eat Just told the news outlet that its cultivated chicken is being assessed by regulators in other jurisdictions including the US and the Middle East. The firm previously announced plans to set up a cultivated meat facility in Qatar.

In May this year Eat Just’s GOOD Meat division secured $170 million in new funding, backed by UBS O’Connor, Graphene Ventures, and K3 Ventures.

In December 2020, the Singapore Food Agency, which is responsible for ensuring the country’s food safety and security, gave Eat Just the greenlight to sell its lab-grown cultured chicken meat — a first by any regulator globally.

Its peer Shiok Meats, a cell-based crustacean meat startup, announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount in a bridge funding round that brings its total funding to approximately $30 million to date.

BuzzAR raises $630K from Choco Up

Singapore-based augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) startup BuzzAR has received $630,000 in funding from financing platform Choco Up.

The funding will allow BuzzAR to develop localised marketing campaigns across Asia-Pacific and the US as it tries to increase its B2B partnerships. The firm is ramping up B2B partnerships in response to rising demand, it said in a statement. BuzzAR offers AI and AR services to companies in China and Singapore.

BuzzAR was co-founded in 2018 by lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Bell Beh and tech entrepreneur Ken Lim.

Also founded in 2018, Choco Up is a revenue-based financing and growth platform, offering flexible, non-dilutive funding solutions. It makes use of data-driven fintech platforms to automate growth fund deployment.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.