NotCo, a Chilean food tech company known for its alternative protein products, announced today it has closed an $85 million Series C round. The round was led by Future Positive, L Catterton Partners, and General Catalyst. Existing investors include Kaszek Ventures, The Craftory, Bezos Expedition, Endeavor Catalyst, Indie Bio, Humbolt Capital and Maya Capital.
The new funds come as NotCo plans to scale its operations and expand internationally, starting with a move into the U.S. The company said in today’s press release that it is evaluating both retail and restaurant partnerships in the States.
Rather than focus on a single food category, NotCo is developing meat, dairy, and egg alternatives at the same time. The company currently has its NotMilk, NotBurger, NotIceCream, and NotMay in stores around Chile, Brazil, Argentina. It also has deals with Burger King and Papa John’s in Chile.
To make its plant-based protein products, NotCo uses artificial intelligence to match animal proteins with their ideal plant replacement, pulling from a library of thousands of plant profiles the company has stored up. The idea is to make combinations of plants that will most closely mimc not just the taste of meat or dairy but also the texture, smell, and mouthfeel, among other factors.
This approach has made NotCo one of the biggest players in plant-based protein in Latin America. However, an expansion to the U.S. means NotCo will have to compete with some serious competition in an already crowded alternative protein space that includes some of the industry’s biggest names: Beyond and Impossible in the plant-based meat sector, Eat JUST for eggs, and Perfect Day for dairy.
International expansion, whether to the U.S. or from it, is a major development in the alternative protein space of late. Beyond, Impossible, and Eat JUST have all announced plans to move into other markets, including Canada and China. Those expansions make sense, given the amount of cash flowing into the sector. The entire alternative protein category has seen an enormous amount of investment in 2020: over $1.1 billion so far, with more than $907 million of that going to plant-based protein.
For its own expansion, NotCo co-founders, Matias Muchnick (CEO) and Karim Pichara (CTO), will be based in the U.S. The company said in a recent interview that it wants to be a $300 million company by 2024, with 70 percent of that business in the U.S.