Meat alternative start-up in Queensland Fable has raised US$8.5 million (A$12.3 million) as it ramps up its expansion in global markets.
The round was led by Singapore VC 3 Ventures, supported by Better Bite Ventures, former YUM CEO Greg Creed, expatriate Australian ethicist and animal rights activist Professor Peter Singer, SaladStop founders Frantz Braha and Adrien Desbaillet, TV star Osher Günsberg and his wife Audrey Griffen and TV producer Michael Simkin. Existing investors Blackbird, AgFunder and Aera VC also participated.
Fable also has Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes on the table through his family fund, Grok, and British chef Heston Blumenthal.
The raise comes 18 months after Fable raised $6.5 million in a 2021 seed round. It has now raised more than $20 million in venture capital on board.
Based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Fable launched in December 2019, co-founded by former Shoes of Prey co-founder Michael Fox, with chef and mycologist Jim Fuller, and organic mushroom grower Chris McLoghlin.
Fable makes vegetarian “meat” from shiitake stems to imitate beef brisket and pulled pork and has launched a range of ready meals.
The cash injection will accelerate research and development, the launch of new mushroom products and international expansion with a focus on North America, the UK and Singapore.
Next month, Fable is expanding its footprint in the US with the national launch of its mushroom burger slider patties at STK Steakhouse, the chain’s first plant-based menu option.
A leaf from the V2foods playbook, a joint venture between CSIRO and Hungry Jacks founder Jack Cowin, who has the product on the menu as the Rebel Whopper, Fox and the Fable team have built their brand through fast food restaurants, including local burger chain Grill’d, which serves its mushroom burger pattie, plus Guzman y Gomez and The Coffee Club, as well as British chain Honest Burgers, the American plant-based brand Beatnic (formerly By Chloe), Hell Pizza from New Zealand and SaladStop! from Singapore.
You can also find Fable products in local supermarkets.
Last year, Fable launched in the UK through meal delivery companies Gousto and Planty and supermarket brand Planet Organic.
Fable kicked off 2023 with new U.S. partnerships including New York-based meal delivery service CookUnity and cult plant-based restaurant chain The butcher’s daughteras well as the Canadian food delivery service Ethey.
The North American push reveals the ambition of Fox and friends, taking over the power and capital of Silicon Valley-backed Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, companies that have so far failed to achieve the goals set by their founders. promise to deliver traction and transformation.
Fashion or fabulous?
Bloomberg recently labeled plant-based fake meat as “just another food craze“.
A vegetarian for six years, Fox is just as ambitious with his “mission to end industrial livestock farming” as Fable’s CEO.
“We want to inspire the world to make more sustainable food choices,” he said.
“We believe that eating more delicious, meaty foods made from mushrooms will help the world reduce global meat consumption – without compromising on taste, texture or experience – and thus we can achieve a more sustainable food system.”
Managing partner of K3 Ventures said Fable is “reshaping the future of food” by using mushrooms as an alternative plant protein compared to the legumes used in competing products.
“We are excited to be part of the next phase of Fable’s growth and to support their ambitions to combat arguably one of the greatest problems of our time: climate change,” he said.
Greg Creed, former Global CEO of the company behind KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, said Fable is one of the biggest challenges in food, taste.
“Having worked in the consumer goods and food industry for four decades, first at Unilever and then at YUM Brands, I have witnessed the changing demands of consumers around the world when it comes to what they eat. I’ve seen a lot of fads and gimmicks along the way and I know one thing consumers will never compromise on, and that’s taste,” he said.
“What Fable has achieved is the intersection of health, sustainability and flavor with their range of mushroom products. Their early success in retail and restaurants including Grill’d and Guzman y Gomez caught my eye, but it’s their team and mission that made me invest in them.
“Combining their mushroom obsession and clean ingredient ethos with real world experience, the Fable team will cut through the clutter and win over consumers around the world.”
Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, said, “I’m excited to invest in a company that wants to end industrial agriculture by making plant-based foods that I enjoy cooking with.”