The Netherlands-based food technology company Mosa Meats has raised €46.9M as part of a larger Series B funding round that will be used to bring its cultured beef products a step closer to the market.
The funding round was led by the Luxembourg firm Blue Horizon Ventures in collaboration with the Bell Food Group, M Ventures, and others. Of all fundraises in the lab-grown meat field, it is “the largest in Europe to date,” Sarah Lucas, Head of Operations at Mosa Meats told me.
Mosa Meat was founded in 2016 by Mark Post and Peter Verstrate, who introduced the world’s first cultured beef hamburger in 2013. This early product came at a cost of almost €250,000 per burger, but this year the company announced that it has reduced its production costs substantially.
Aside from reducing the high costs associated with creating meat that has the same properties as meat from livestock, one of the biggest challenges the company will face is that of regulatory approval.
“In Europe, the market we are focused on, we need to go through a rigorous ‘novel foods’ regulatory process. This involves demonstrating the safety to the European Food Safety Authority,” Lucas said.
This process takes at least 18 months and involves creating five batches of the product for formal safety analysis.
However, Lucas told me that the European Union is introducing a new novel foods regime in March 2021 that should speed up the process and increase transparency. She added that the process is already much faster (3–6 months) in other countries, citing Singapore as an example.
“We understand that Singapore is taking a very proactive role in supporting the market approval of cultured meat, because they see it as one way to improve Singapore’s food security,” she said.
The money raised in the current round will be used to extend Mosa Meats’ pilot production line in Maastricht as well as develop an industrial-sized production line and increase the number of employees.
Investor interest in meat-alternative biotechs is currently booming and Nick Cooney, Managing Partner at the investment firm Lever VC, believes that the announcement by Mosa Meat “will get the attention of some of the larger institutional investors in Europe that have been paying attention to the alternative protein space, but waiting for larger rounds and later stages to get involved.”
“It’s also a sign of how this space is growing and maturing, and of how cultivated meat is getting closer to entering the market—which is why investors are willing to make bets of this size,” he said.
Lucas hopes that Mosa Meat’s successful fundraise will lead to other cultured meat companies also raising significant funding.
“We need a lot of companies to scale up and bring products to market so that, within a decade, we can start to meaningfully reduce the number of animals raised and slaughtered, and start having a big positive impact for the planet,” she said.
Image from Mosa Meat