Plant powered start-up: Perfect Day gains patent and funding for animal-free proteins

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27 Feb 2018 --- Perfect Day is a start-up specializing in the production of environmentally friendly and nutritious sources of protein – without the use of animals. The Silicon Valley-based innovator is collaborating with food companies and food investors to bring its proteins to market and has raised US$24.7 million in funding and received its first patent for the use of animal-free dairy proteins in food applications. 

The global market for alternative dairy drinks is expected to reach US$16.3bn in this year alone, according to Innova Market Insights data, a dramatic increase from US$7.4 billion in 2010. Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. invested US$65 million in Ripple Foods Inc., a start-up beverage company that creates milk-like beverages from yellow peas. The investment is Ripple's largest to date and brings the two-year-old company's total funding to US$110 million. You can read FoodIngredientsFirst coverage here.

Consumer appetite for plant-based foods and particularly beverages is changing. The plant-based milk market is thriving, evidenced by more mergers and startups becoming knowledgeable in this space as the demand intensifies.

For Perfect Day, the substantial raise indicates the largest Series A in the history of the emerging food tech space, and for the company, it underscores that industry leaders and top global investors share their vision for creating a new food protein supply chain for premium animal-free functional and nutritious ingredients.

The Series A raise was led by Temasek, a Singapore state-owned investment company. Temasek’s investment in Perfect Day aligns with the firm’s belief that collective action is needed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Commenting on the successful raise of Series A, Co-Founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi said: “We’re eager to work with companies that will enable us to bring our ingredient innovations to the market. This investment, along with our investors’ relationships with some of the largest food companies and brands in the world, will help us accelerate commercialization with a wide variety of partners across the food and dairy sectors.”

Horizons Ventures, a Hong Kong-based Venture Capital Company, who were the first backers of Perfect Day, continued their support and participated US$6 million in the round, alongside additional investments from influential food industry players including Continental Grain (US), Iconiq Capital (US), Lion Ventures, Verus International and others.

Earlier this month, the company received its first patent for the use of animal-free dairy proteins in food applications, and given the VCs relationships with some of the top food and beverage companies and brands in the world, this investment will help Perfect Day to accelerate commercialization with a wide variety of partners across the food and dairy sectors.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Gandhi, Co-Founder of Perfect Day said: “US$27 million has been raised to date; we should be able to become profitable within the next few raises.”
“This space is limited to plant proteins, which have much less nutritional value than dairy proteins and their lack of functionality is what leads to the need for non-animal dairy products to contain so many stabilizers, gums, and other undesirable components that lead to an inferior product,” he explains.
Gandhi also noted that the company has the ambition to be the global leader in alternative proteins and sustainable food, starting with this new approach to dairy protein.

“The funding will be used to grow the team, seed the market with samples of our protein for interested potential partners, and invest further in our technology,” he adds.
Ryan Pandya, Co-Founder and CEO of Perfect Day also said: “This technology has been possible for nearly 45 years, but now is the perfect time to bring it to market, as consumer demand for sustainability and transparency in food increases and brands companies seek better ways of bringing nutrition to the world.”
“These ingredients suitable for anywhere you'd find milk proteins today – in a surprising variety of food products across the grocery store, not just the dairy aisle. And next generation plant-based products that are much better than existing options,” he claims.
For Perfect Day, the main challenge is communicating this 40-year-old technology, that has been used in food and medicine, with consumer-friendly language. “As for taste – our products speak for themselves,” adds Pandya.
The move comes amid a growing trend towards food & beverage innovation originating from Silicon Valley-based start-ups. “The potential of Silicon Valley start-ups driving innovation in this sector is high,” Pandya notes. “There are people working hard across the US and the world in this sector to drive it forward, and given the advances in the field in the past few years, the future of non-animal dairy is truly exciting.”

Perfect Day also announced the appointment of Henk Hoogenkamp as Senior Advisor for Strategic Development. Hoogenkamp’s worldwide reach in both plant and dairy protein applications will help the company accelerate the path to market for premium dairy protein ingredients. 

By Elizabeth Green

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