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Seven Bill Gates-backed food companies with $4 billion in revenue: ‘The key to solving the climate crisis is alternative protein’

  Bill Gates, the tech mogul, has shown increasing enthusiasm for investing in food tech. While he’s not personally a vegetarian, he has spoken many times about the importance of reducing meat consumption and emphasizing plant-based protein.
  As the founder of Microsoft, he and his ex-wife Melinda founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. Reportedly the world’s largest private foundation, the charity works to support increased access to nutrition, education, healthcare and technology globally.
  ”I want more people to understand that what needs to be done to stop climate change.” Bill Gates believes that the food sector – an alternative to animal agriculture (alternative protein) is crucial to helping solve the climate crisis. With this view in mind, he has repeatedly invested in the alternative protein industry. This article summarizes 7 companies in the alternative protein space that Bill Gates has invested in, covering multiple verticals and manufacturing technologies, including fermentation, cell-based and traditional plant protein processing.
Nobel Foods

  Bill Gates’ investment arm has led a $75 million Series B round in 2021 for U.S. plant-based protein company Nobel Foods. The company’s total funding to date stands at $100 million.
  Nobel Foods uses plant-derived milk proteins to make cheese. The company says its soy-produced casein gives cheese meltable, stretchable properties and a rich flavor. The startup has been operating in stealth, but hopes to debut vegan mozzarella and cheddar in late 2022, chosen because they are the categories that have the most impact on the U.S. market, with both accounting for 60% of traditional cheese consumption.
natural choice

  Natural Selection has developed a plant-based protein called Fy. Produced by fungal fermentation using plants, this protein contains all 9 essential amino acids. Biomass fermented proteins have the advantage of having an extremely low carbon footprint, using only a small fraction of water, land and energy. In 2021, it won FDA approval and has since introduced vegan breakfast patties to Whole Foods.
  Natural Selection is opening overseas markets, with a particular focus on Asia; it also plans to release vegan meat and cheese products.

Different kind of meat

  Another Meat Company is a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of 100 percent whole plant-based meat substitutes, whose vegetarian meat products are composed of soy and pea protein isolates, yeast and other ingredients. Its products have been available in all U.S. supermarkets since 2013. It has been a leader in the alternative protein industry with a total funding of $128 million to date. The specific investment details of Bill Gates were not disclosed publicly. But there are rumors that shares are being sold or transferred to a foundation ahead of a 2021 crash.
  The company has partnerships with the likes of KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, and is now planning to expand in Asia, as well as through partnerships with fast-food chains.

impossible food

  Impossible Foods is arguably the biggest competitor of Other Meat. Bill Gates has invested in it many times, totaling more than 50 million US dollars, and the company’s total financing has reached 2 billion US dollars.
  The meat substitute produced by Impossible Foods is designed to more realistically restore the organoleptic properties of meat, thanks to its development and use of heme. The company’s heme comes from the roots of the soybean plant and mimics the “bloody” appearance of traditional meat. Impossible Foods has made a variety of popular meats, including beef, pork and chicken. It’s also partnering with grocery giant Kroger to develop a private-label line of alternative meats.
Upside Foods

  Upward Foods completed the largest financing in the cell-cultured meat industry at that time in April 2022, amounting to $400 million. The company has raised a total of $600 million since its founding in 2015. Bill Gates has also invested in the company many times.
  The recent mega funding round is the first in a string of achievements for the company over the past year. In November 2021, the company opened EPIC, an engineering, production and innovation center in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, with an annual capacity of 50,000 pounds, one of the largest cell-cultured meat plants in the world. “Transparency” is at the heart of EPIC, whose production workshop is housed in a glass room at the center of the facility. Anyone who walks into EPIC can see how and where Upside Foods’ meat is made, and Upside Foods hosts public tours to demonstrate the production process.
  Uma Valetti, a cardiologist and professor at the University of Minnesota, co-founded Upward Foods. He has more than 20 years of practical experience in the field of cardiology. He worries about foodborne illnesses from eating meat and is disgusted by contamination in slaughterhouses. “I love meat, but I don’t like the way it’s produced.” In 2005, while working in interventional cardiology at the Mayo Clinic, he conducted a study on using stem cells to repair cardiac muscle tissue. He realized that stem cells could also be used to grow animal muscle tissue or meat. “I entered the field of cardiology because I wanted to have a positive impact on human health. I see the company as an extension of this mission – from a public health perspective, I will play a bigger role in improving the food system .” Angsai Food mainly produces cell cultured meat products by inducing stem cells to differentiate into muscle tissue and further culturing them in bioreactors.
  Upward Foods is also one of the first companies to officially announce that it has developed a growth medium without fetal bovine serum. It has also partnered with Michelin-starred chefs to sell cell-cultured chicken products in restaurants in San Francisco.
  The company is awaiting regulatory approval for its chicken products. It had hoped to get the approval by the end of 2021, but progress has been slow. The company said beef and duck meats are also in development.
Modifo

  Modifo started out as an ingredient company and has now entered the plant-based meat industry. Total financing to date is $345 million. Bill Gates has participated in several of the company’s most recent $226 million Series B funding rounds.
  The startup won FDA approval for its “HEMAMI” protein, which adds an “authentic” meaty taste and smell to plant-based products. However, this led to a lawsuit against Impossible Foods, which claimed to infringe the patent rights. Modifu vehemently denied the claim and filed a complaint of his own, saying Impossible Foods’ patents are meaningless and should be revoked. The case is still pending.

Hampton Creek

  Hampton Creek Foods raised its latest funding of $200 million in March 2021, bringing its total funding to date to $400 million. Bill Gates participated in its early financing, but Hampton Creek did not disclose specifics.
  The 2021 financing is earmarked to support its factory and cell-based activities, thereby accelerating both parties’ R&D capabilities. Since then, the company has announced plans to build two large production facilities in the Middle East and Asia, and has received regulatory approval to market its flagship Hampton Creek food range in the European Union.
  The company’s cell cultures have received regulatory approval to sell a second cell-based chicken product in Singapore, which remains the only country in the world to give the green light to growing meat.
  In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Bill Gates was asked how to reduce methane emissions, and he floated the idea that “the richest countries should move to eating 100 percent synthetic beef.”
  ”I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef, you can get used to the difference in taste.” And claims that “artificial meat will taste better” over time.

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