Better Bite Ventures introduces first alternative protein fund to power “new wave” of APAC start-ups
23 Feb 2022 --- New venture capital firm Better Bite Ventures has launched a US$15 million fund, including an initial portfolio of 10 Asia-Pacific start-ups, harnessing plant-based and cellular agriculture technologies to create climate-friendly meat, dairy, egg and seafood alternatives.
This comes as planetary health comes into sharpened focus for global consumers who are just as concerned for the environmental impacts that their F&B makes as they are their health.
Propelling alternative protein
According to Better Bite Ventures, the fund is “the first of its kind” and is dedicated entirely to alternative protein investments in Asia Pacific.
Leading impact investors back it, growth stage fund managers, family offices, and food and tech entrepreneurs from Asia, the US and Europe. It invests primarily at founding, pre-seed and seed stages.
The opportunity for impact and growth is significant. Analysis from Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, US, shows that alternative protein products could save up to 93% in greenhouse gas emissions, 89% in water and 98% in land use, compared to conventional animal proteins.
New alternative protein products are forecast to reach more than US$290 billion by 2035 and could represent around 11% of the overall protein market. Moreover, two-thirds of consumption is expected to come from Asia-Pacific.
Spotlight on Asia
The plant-based experts behind better Bite Ventures are Michal Klar and Simon Newstead; two Asia Pacific-based operators turned impact investors with a background in a Vegan Startup podcast and a track record of investing and venture building in food and tech.
“We’re here to invest in bold founders building Asia’s future food-tech unicorns,” says Klar, general partner. “Now is the time for Asia – we believe home-grown companies with local insights will take a leading role in this rapidly growing market.”
“Having been founders ourselves, we know how helpful having truly supportive investors can be,” adds Newstead. “Being responsive with founder-friendly terms, a lack of red tape and a focus on long-term sustainability, we aim to be a trusted partner right from the start.”
The launch portfolio includes emerging plant-based, cell-based, precision and biomass fermentation, and molecular farming leaders from food-tech hotspots China, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.
- Blue Canopy, working to become China’s leader in mass-market alt-protein ingredients using biomass fermentation, co-founded by Chenfeng Lu and Juchuan Zhou.
- CellX, a China-based cultivated meat start-up, co-founded by Ziliang Yang, Ning Xiang, Binlu Huang and Ran Liu.
- Change Foods, founded in Australia and reinventing cheese with precision fermentation technology, co-founded by David Bucca and Junior Te’o.
- Fable Food Co, transforming mushrooms into meat, co-founded by Michael Fox and Jim Fuller, headquartered in Australia.
- Green Rebel Foods, a South East Asia’s plant-based meat and dairy start-up, co-founded by Helga Angelina and Max Mandias in Indonesia.
- Me&, addressing a large human milk and infant nutrition market with cell-based technology, co-founded by Esha Saxena and Luis Malaver-Ortega in Australia.
- Meatiply, developing cultivated poultry out of Singapore, co-founded by Elwin Tan, Jason Chua, Benjamin Chua and Teh Bin Tean.
- Next Gen Foods, makers of Tindle plant-based chicken, co-founded by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, based out of Singapore. The company recently scored a US$100 million investment, backed by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
- Umami Meats, addressing sustainability issues of seafood by developing cell-cultured fish, founded by Mihir Pershad in Singapore.
Edited by Gaynor Selby
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