Perfect Day, a startup producing animal-free dairy using microbes, today announced it has closed a $140 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Temasek with participation from past investors.
This more than doubles the total amount of funding for the Berkeley-based startup, which raised a $34.8 million Series B earlier this year. Its total money raised is now $201.5 million.
Perfect Day uses genetically engineered microbes to ferment the protein building blocks of dairy, like casein and whey. It then combines them with fat and water to create milk that’s genetically identical to the real thing. Since it’s neither made from plants (plant-based) or grown from animal tissue (cell-based), the startup has coined a new term for its products: flora-based.
Perfect Day will use its new funds to accelerate growth by upping its production capacity, deepening partnerships and developing new products. “We’re trying to scale the supply chain and bring this to the world in a big way,” co-founder and CEO Ryan Pandya told me over the phone last week. Their goal is to be making thousands of metric tons of the proteins by 2022 (right now they’re making tens of tons). The company currently works with food giant ADM to help manufacture its dairy proteins in larger quantities.
It also debuted its first product earlier this year: a limited line of ice creams made with Perfect Day’s flora-based milk. (I tried them, they were delicious.) Based on photos sent to us by the company, Perfect Day has also developed animal-free cream cheese, feta, and cheese spread, in addition to straight-up milk.
Though its first product was branded by and sold by Perfect Day, the startup actually plans to sell its dairy B2B to large food companies. We won’t have to wait too long to find out whom that will be — Perfect Day will announce its first commercial partnerships early in 2020. The company is also developing animal-free milk fat which will allow it to create a wider range of flora-based dairy products using only its fermentation technology.
The flora-based dairy space is quite young (the only other player is New Culture). Once Perfect Day uses its sizeable hunk of new funding to scale up and establish a few big-name partnerships, however, flora-based dairy might not be such a niche anymore.