MUFG Capital backs $6m funding in Japanese plant-based meat producer Daiz

Image credit: Daiz

Daiz, the Japanese startup developing plant-based substitutes for meat products, has raised ¥650 million (about $6 million) in a Series A funding round backed by Mitsubishi UFJ Capital (Mucap).

The startup is Japan’s version of the popular US-headquartered plant-based meat company Impossible Food, which announced last week that it raised about $500 million in its latest series F funding round.

In a statement, Daiz said the funding round, which brings the total funds it raised to date to $11 million, was also participated by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Fund Corporation for Innovation and Value-chain and Expansion Japan (A-FIVE).

The Kumamoto-based startup develops and produces soybean-derived meat ingredients that it calls Miracle Chip. The fresh funding will be used to expand Daiz’s production capacity to up to 3,000 tons per year and boost the research to bring the taste of its plant-based meat closer to real meat.

The company said it uses its proprietary technology to encourage the germination of soybeans before puffing up the beans through an extruder to create the texture and elasticity of real meat.

The company plans to mainly sell to major food manufacturers and distributors in Japan, with eyes on global expansion in the future. Daiz also announced its plans to build one of the largest plant meat factories in the country, in Kumamoto Prefecture next year.

Even as the Series A funding round has just recently been closed, the startup disclosed that it will raise another round by the end of 2020. It also aims to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Market.

According to the United Nation’s World Population Estimate 2019 report, the global population is expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, which will result in what Daiz describes as a “protein crisis”.

“Plant meat is attracting attention as an alternative protein, and the market is expected to exceed ¥9 trillion (about $84 billion) worldwide,” Daiz said.

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.