SAN DIEGO — Food technology company Plantible Foods Inc. raised $21.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Astanor Ventures, with participation from Piva Capital, CJ CheilJedang and Good Friends.
Google executive Bradley Horowitz, Mammoth Biosciences founder Trevor Martin and Unata founder Chris Bryson also participated in the round, along with existing investors Vectr Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, FTW Ventures, Unshackled Ventures and Kellogg Co.’s eighteen94 capital fund.
Founded in 2018 by Tony Martens and Maurits van de Ven, Plantible is developing a vertically integrated agricultural platform to produce Rubi Protein from lemna, more commonly known as duckweed. The plant-based protein emulates the functional characteristics of widely used animal-based proteins, according to the company.
The startup aims to tackle one of the major risks of the existing food supply chain, the founders said. While the majority of plant-based proteins are derived from plants that have annual crop cycles and are therefore vulnerable to climate change, lemna is grown in a controlled environment. It doubles in mass every 48 hours, enabling a consistent daily harvest throughout the year. The free-floating aquatic plant is highly protein-efficient, yielding 10 times more protein per acre than soy while requiring 10 times less water.
“Plantible is not competing with other plant proteins, our goal is to remove chickens and cows from the food supply system,” Mr. Martens said. “We are cultivating a new plant to change the broken food supply chain that was exposed during the pandemic. Currently available plant proteins don't pull their weight when it comes to competing with animal-based products on taste and nutrition. By combining plant science, biochemistry and engineering, we are able to create drop-in replacements for these widely used animal-derived proteins without forcing consumers to sacrifice on either taste or nutrition, paving the way for an accelerated transition toward a healthier planet.”
Over the past year, Plantible has scaled its production capacity by building out a small pilot plant and expanding its team. The startup will use funds from the $21.5 million Series A round to build its first commercial facility, with the goal of launching and commercializing its product in 2022.