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Cultivated Biosciences secures US$5 million in seed funding to bring alternative dairy products closer to dairy

March 11, 2024

Cultivated Biosciences, the Swiss biotech food startup, has announced the successful closing of its US$5 million seed funding round. This significant financial injection will accelerate both the development of their yeast cream in collaboration with the food industry and preparation for the US market launch in 2025.

The dairy-free sector has experienced considerable growth and innovation recently. Still, the products fail to convince consumers as the various attempts of mixing plant-based proteins with vegetable oils and additives such as emulsifiers and texturizers still don’t exactly replicate the dairy experience. They also don’t meet expectations in terms of health and sustainability, as additives and exotic oils are used. Cultivated Biosciences offers a sustainable and healthy solution with its yeast-derived cream, a critical ingredient for mimicking the creaminess, functionality, and color of traditional dairy cream. This ingredient is patented and improves the texture and stability of dairy-free products, replaces additives, and doesn’t affect taste.

The yeast cream is a natural emulsion, just as dairy cream is a natural emulsion. The production process involves yeast biomass fermentation, a method distinct from precision fermentation as it is non-GMO, cheaper and more easily scalable. It does not aim to replicate dairy cream on a molecular level. Instead, it achieves functional and sensory parity. The yeast cream contains fats, proteins, and fibers, all from the yeast, featuring a microstructure of yeast lipid droplets that resemble milk fat droplets. This ingredient will be supplied to the gastronomy and food industry for integration into final consumer products. The company has already validated its application in products like coffee creamers, milk, and ice cream with its clients and is exploring further uses.

The funding round drew a strategic group of investors, all persuaded by the company's significant progress since its US$1.5 million pre-seed round in September 2022. Navus Ventures, a Dutch venture capital firm dedicated to promoting sustainable food and energy systems, led the investment round. Cultivated Biosciences' CEO Tomas Turner shared his gratitude and optimism for the future. "This funding validates our innovative approach and enables us to introduce our revolutionary yeast cream to the market," he stated. "We aim to make alternative dairy products appealing to traditional dairy consumers, not just to reduce CO2 emissions from dairy production but also to tap into a multi-billion dollar market opportunity."

The 15-member team is now focused on scaling up production and collaborating closely with the food industry and gastronomy to introduce their ingredient to consumer markets by 2025.

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