Australia’s plant-based meat startup v2food on Tuesday announced the completion of a $35 million Series A round of financing led by Main Sequence Ventures and Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures.
Sequoia Capital China and Fairfax Family’s investment fund Marinya Capital also participated in the investment, according to a company statement.
The Series A round comes less than two months after v2food was set up this October by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin, the founder of restaurants franchiser Competitive Foods Australia.
The company released its first product last month in partnership with the Rebel Whopper, a plant-based alternative to Hungry Jack’s traditional Whopper. Hungry Jack, a fast-food brand in Australia, is owned by Competitive Foods Australia.
v2food, co-founded by former Masterfoods and PepsiCo executive Nick Hazell, worked with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to create products that look like meat, cook like meat and taste like meat. The company aims to use plant-based meat products to disrupt the meat production and consumption industry.
“There is a big shortfall between the amount of meat we produce today and the amount needed to feed the growing global population. There will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth by 2050,” said Hazell, in the statement. “It’s imperative that we scale quickly because these global issues need immediate solutions.”
v2food will use the proceeds to expand R&D efforts including building a new research and production facility, which is expected to begin operations in Australia in 2020.
As it sees demand currently outstripping supply, v2food also plans to use the funds to expand its footprint in Australia and develop a highly scalable supply chain. The company will continue to launch new products in outlets across Australia in the next few months.
The new investment, which was oversubscribed, will also see investors including Horizons Ventures and Sequoia Capital utilise their global networks to help v2food expand sales and marketing efforts offshore. The startup plans to expand in the Asia-Pacific region in the next growth phase.
Main Sequence Ventures, CSIRO and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia are seed investors in v2food. Main Sequence manages the CSIRO Innovation Fund, which was set up as part of the Australian government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in 2018.
The plant-based protein and meat market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28 per cent from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030, according to investment firm UBS.
Driven by healthy consumption patterns and growing environmental awareness, the market has already seen early players such as America’s Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods make strides in terms of raising funding and expanding rapidly.
In a stunning initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq in May 2019, shares of the pre-profit vegan burger maker Beyond Meat jumped over 160 per cent in their market debut, raising $240 million from the listing at a market capitalization of about $3.8 billion based on shares outstanding including underwriters’ option.