Cellular agriculture startup Integriculture has raised a ¥800 million (~$7.4 million USD) Series A round to further the development of its cell-based meat, according to AgFunder News. The round was led by AgFunder, Beyond Next Ventures, Hiroshima Ventures, Hiroshima Venture Capital, NH Foods, Real Tech Fund, and VU Venture Partners. It also included participation from several other investors, including Caygan Capital CEO Naruhisa Nakagawa. This brings IntegriCulture’s total funding to date to ¥1.1 billion, or about $10.2 million USD.
The company will use the new funds for further research and development around its cell-based meat and also for building a production facility and the company’s first commercial-scale bioreactor.
Integriculture’s first edible product will be its cell-based foie gras, which is grown in a bioreactor rather than in, well, an animal, thereby eliminating the ethical issues surrounding foie gras. Last year, company CEO Yuki Hanyu told my colleague Catherine Lamb that it plans to launch the cultured liver in restaurants by 2021 and in retail by 2023.
Hanyu is also the founder of DIY cultured meat community Shojinmeat which he started with the idea of “democratizing meat.” The aim was to give every household the ability to grow their own cultured meat in their own homes. IntegriCulture spun out from Shojinmeat in 2015. IntegriCulture’s new CulNet system, which it unveiled earlier this month, is geared towards that, allowing businesses and even (very ambitious) individuals to culture their own animal tissue.
In the future, IntegriCulture hopes its CulNet system will be able to culture any type of animal cell, so that they can branch out into other types of alt-meat production and even move into non-food industries like medical and skincare.