French startup gourmey just raised a Series A funding round led by Earlybird Venture Capital. In total, the company has raised $48 million (€48 million). The company has worked on cultured meat, and more specifically lab-grown foie gras. It is part of a new wave of companies looking to convert cell-grown meat products into regular products.
“Most of the funding is equity, but also includes a small portion of non-dilutive funding, especially from public institutions like Bpifrance,” co-founder and CEO Nicolas Morin-Forest told me. Gourmey does 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, such as 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 so that it becomes synthetic foie gras or – as they say – slaughter-free foie gras.
Of course, there is a lot of stigma attached to foie gras. Many people simply refuse to eat foie gras because of animal cruelty. More generally, meat has a major impact on climate change.
With today’s funding round, the startup wants to take the step from research and development to commercialization. But you won’t find Gourmey’s product in the supermarket yet.
“Our cultured foie gras is ready for the market and has already convinced several French and international Michelin-starred chefs, restaurants and high-quality meat distributors,” says Morin-Forest.
In order to fulfill orders on a large scale, the company is going to create an innovation and production center of 37,000 square meters – that is about 3,400 square meters. It should be operational within the next 18 to 24 months.
It will employ 120 engineers, nutritionists and operators, producing tens of thousands of pounds of cultured meat.
“At the same time, we are working hand in hand with the food safety authorities and agencies to obtain regulatory approval and market our product in the safest conditions in various geographies such as Singapore, US, UK and EU,” said Morin- said Bos.
Today’s news comes a few weeks later Standing ovation Raised $12 million to develop animal-free casein for use in cheese. Meatable also recently showed its synthetic sausages. In other words, cultured meat is rapidly becoming a competitive industry.
Sooner or later, those companies will start competing with each other once they diversify their product portfolio. “We continue to expand our portfolio of high-quality, sustainable meat products in poultry, as well as other species, and several exciting announcements are coming,” said Morin-Forest.