Japanese plant-based meat startup DAIZ raised a $6 million Series A round in the second half of May. According to a DAIZ press release, the round included participation from the Fisheries Growth Industrialization Support Organization fund and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital. The $6 million figure marks DAIZ’s total funding to date.
While the actual funding was announced a couple weeks ago, it’s worth noting because of DAIZ’s ambitions and how the company plans to take on big-name players in the plant-based space with its so-called “miracle chips,” which are raw plant-based meat components created using DAIZ’s patented Ochiai High Pressure Method technology.
According to the press release, this germination method brings out the umami flavor of soybeans and lessens the unpleasant aftertaste that are found in a lot of vegan meat offerings right now. The soybeans are then put in an extruder, where molding technologies recreate the texture of actual meat.
With the new funds, DAIZ says it will build out one of the largest factories for plant-based meat in Japan in 2021. They also plan to raise Series B funds at some point in 2020. Initially, the company will focus on selling to major food manufacturers as well as distribution companies, and eventually wants to expand globally.
Notably, DAIZ is aiming to become what it calls “the fourth meat” alongside chicken, beef, and pork. In other words, they have no plans to replace the real thing. Rather it aims to have plant-based meat co-exist on the table with animal-based meat. Many plant-based meat companies have similar goals that target the “flexitarian,” which means when DAIZ finally does expand internationally, it will be competing with the likes of Impossible, Beyond, Néstle, and a growing number of others in the space.