Impact Investing | January 23, 2020

Memphis Meats hauls in $161 million to ramp production of cultured meat

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, Jan. 23 – The Berkeley, Calif.-based company is one of 30 or so startups racing to perfect “clean” protein grown in labs from cultured cells.

It will use the funding to build a plant in the Bay Area to produce lab-grown chicken, duck and beef and will triple its headcount.

The Series B financing was led by SoftBank Group, Norwest and Temasek, and included high-profile investors like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Kimball Musk, and food giants Tyson Foods and Cargill. Venture funds Fifty Years and CPT Capital also joined.

Lab-grown protein is coming, but Memphis Meats and its rivals face hurdles including high costs of production, customer acceptance, and regulatory uncertainty. 


Cultured meat differs from plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods; it’s real meat, minus the animals, and promises to be even more climate-friendly.

Disrupting cows

A report by RethinkX calls lab-grown protein “the deepest, fastest, most consequential disruption in food and agricultural production since the first domestication of plants and animals.”

The think tank predicts that cultured proteins will be five times cheaper than animal proteins by 2030. That means the number of cows in the U.S. will fall by half, and their greenhouse gas emissions will drop by 60%.