Alternative protein startup Next Gen Foods on Tuesday announced it has bagged $20 million in an extended seed funding round. New investors in the round include global venture capital firm GGV Capital.
The latest tranche takes Next Gen’s total seed financing to $30 million. It had raised $10 million in the first tranche of the seed round in January this year.
According to Next Gen’s latest filings with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the company received $18 million as part of the extended seed round this month. Existing investors Temasek Holdings and K3 Ventures invested $10 million and $1.25 million, respectively. Meanwhile, GGV Capital has injected nearly $2.9 million.
“Our partnership with the NextGen team is underpinned by our commitment to team up with founders who show real passion and flair in solving the fundamental challenges of our time – food sustainability is one of them,” said GGV Capital managing partner Jenny Lee. “By leveraging technology to create delicious plant-based foods, NextGen has a unique global opportunity to popularize non-animal food products and let consumers know that great flavour can go hand-in-hand with both great nutrition and sustainability.”
Other new investors to participate in the latest tranche include Chinese agriculture and foodtech venture fund Bits x Bites; Yeo Hiap Seng, an Asian food and beverage player with a presence in the plant-based dairy space; Chris Yeh, co-author of Blitzscaling; and a group of athletes that includes English footballer Dele Alli, Next Gen said in a statement.
The plant-based chicken maker said it will use the funds to enter the US, which is the world’s largest plant-based meat market, in the next 12 months. It will also use the capital to hire more than 50 employees and expand its presence in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Next Gen was founded by Timo Recker, the former CEO of German plant-based meat company LikeMeat — it was acquired by global plant-based food company LIVEKINDLY Collective last year — and Andre Menezes, previously the general manager of Country Foods Singapore, where he was involved in making Impossible Foods a household name in Singapore.
The company aims to raise its Series A round of financing in 2022, said Menezes.
In March, Next Gen launched its plant-based chicken meat brand TiNDLE in Singapore. It is now available in 70 restaurants in Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong.
Unlike most existing alt protein brands such as beef-substitute makers Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Next Gen produces plant-based chicken, which the company has said it wants to be a global leader in.
The startup, which says that it works on an asset-light model, does not have a manufacturing facility in Singapore. Instead, it partners with a Dutch manufacturer to produce its plant-based meat at a capacity of 5,000 metric tonne meat annually that can serve up to 9,000 restaurants.
Deals in the alternative protein space have shot up in the past five years. PitchBook data showed that venture capital funding into alternative protein companies globally skyrocketed from $1 billion in 2018 to $2.8 billion last year. In Asia, it went from $3.5 million to $155 million in the same period.
The alternative meat market was valued at $5-10 billion in 2021, or less than 1% of the global meat industry, per an EY report. Its value could soar to between $77 billion and $153 billion by 2030, making up 5% to 10% of the global meat market, the report projected.