Sydney, Australia-based company Vow Foods announced today that it has raised $6 million in seed funding to further develop alternative forms of meat — chicken, pork, and kangaroo among them. The round was led by Square Peg Capital, with participation from Tenacious Ventures and existing investors Blackbird Ventures and Grok Ventures, according to an email sent to The Spoon.
Investment in the cell-based meat sector has steadily increased over the last several months, though most of that funding has gone towards companies producing alt forms of the most common meats, including chicken, pork, beef, and bacon.
Like other cell-based meat companies, Vow uses animal cells, rather than actual animals, to produce alternative meat products. In cultivators, it nourishes the animal cells, which then form fat, tissue, and muscle just as they would if they were growing inside the animal itself.
Unlike others in the space, Vow hasn’t limited itself to just the basics when it comes to meat types. As of this writing, the company has a cell library of 11 different animals that includes more exotic fare such as alpaca, water buffalo, and the aforementioned kangaroo.
The company did a taste testing of its kangaroo dumpling in 2019. More recently, it held a “culinary demonstration” event that showed off six of its cell-based meat products. The company will also soon open a “food design studio” and laboratory in Sydney to further develop its products.
And while eating a lab-grown kangaroo might still seem like the stuff of fantasy for many, cell-based meat as a legitimate player in the food industry is very much a reality now. As mentioned above, investment dollars for cell-based meat increased in 2020, and new companies and approaches emerged steadily throughout the year. To cap it all off, cell-based meat got its first-ever regulatory stamp of approval in Singapore, thereby opening the gates of opportunity for others.
Parts of the world — the U.S. being one of them — will probably never see cell-based kangaroo on grocery store shelves. However, Vow’s fundraise this week highlights not just further growth for the cell-based meat sector, but also an interest in the kind of variety and versatility the whole industry needs to continue its march into the mainstream food system.