French startup Gourmey just raised a Series A funding round led by Earlybird Venture Capital. In total, the company allocated 48 million dollars (48 million euros). The company works on cultured meat and more specifically lab-grown foie gras. They are part of a new wave of companies looking to turn cell-cultured meat products into mainstream products.
“Most of the funding is equity, but it also includes a small part of non-dilutive funding, especially from public organizations like Bpifrance,” co-founder and CEO Nicolas Morin-Forest told me. Gourmey would not disclose the company’s valuation.
Other investors in today’s round include Keen Venture Partners, Omnes Capital, Discovery, Thia Ventures, Instacart CEO Fidji Simo and some existing investors including Heartcore Capital, Point Nine Capital, Air Street Capital, Partech and Beyond Investing.
Gourmey matures stem cells in bioreactors with the right nutrients at the right temperature to make synthetic foie gras, or — as they say — no-slaughter foie gras.
Of course, there is a lot of stigma associated with foie gras. Many people simply refuse to eat foie gras because of the animal cruelty. More generally, meat has a significant impact on climate change.
With today’s funding round, the startup wants to move from research and development to commercialization. But you still won’t find the Gourmey product in supermarkets.
“Our cultured foie gras is ready for market and has already convinced several French and international Michelin-starred chefs, restaurants and premium meat distributors,” said Morin-Forest.
In order to fulfill orders at scale, the company is set to build a 37,000-square-foot innovation and manufacturing hub — that’s about 3,400 square meters. It should be operational within the next 18 to 24 months.
120 engineers, food specialists and operators will work there to produce tens of thousands of pounds of cultured meats.
“At the same time, we are working hand-in-hand with food safety authorities and organizations to get regulatory approval and bring our product to market under the safest conditions in various geographies such as Singapore, the US, the UK and the EU,” said Morin- Forest said.
Today’s news comes just weeks after Standing Ovation raised $12 million to develop an animal-free casein for use in cheese. Meatable also recently introduced its synthetic sausages. In other words, farmed meat is quickly becoming a competitive industry.
Sooner or later, these companies will start competing with each other once they diversify their product portfolio. “We continue to work to expand our portfolio of high-quality, sustainable meat products across poultry and other species, and we have several exciting announcements coming,” said Morin-Forest.