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Planetarians announces US$6 million raise

February 20, 2023

The vegan meat company, Planetarians, has announced that it has raised a US$6 million seed II round to fund commercial production of its patented, whole-cut, plant-based protein based on just two ingredients.

San Francisco-based Mindrock led the investment round, and was joined by Traction Fund, Techstars, SOSV, and ZX Ventures, the corporate venture arm of AB InBev, the world's leading beer brewer.

Planetarians uses spent yeast from commercial fermentation facilities and native plant proteins, such as soy flakes, left from vegetable oil extraction, to produce whole cuts of protein with the flavor and chewy texture of meat but with a much cleaner health profile – near zero fat content – and a dramatically better climate impact than beef, chicken, or other plant-based proteins.

"While the protein industry was developing new ways of manufacturing that poured money into expensive infrastructure," said Ulvi Rashid, Head of Investments at Mindrock. "Planetarians acted from first principles to re-purpose already existing ingredients to create affordable and sustainable meat."

"It took seven years of R&D to work through the long list of ingredients that are possible for plant-based proteins before we realized that one readily available fermented protein, spent yeast from breweries, could combine with soy flakes and other native plant proteins to deliver a meaty taste and texture at a low cost compared to the alternatives," added Aleh Manchuliantsau, Co-founder of Planetarians.

In addition, analysts at IAMECON calculated that Planetarians vegan meat has a carbon footprint 50 times better than animal meat and nine times better than plant-based meat, thanks to upcycling of existing ingredients, and therefore lower water and power consumption.

Planetarians operates a pilot facility in Hayward, California, and has conducted several trials with food service and hospitality companies that have converted to regular customers. The target market is schools, senior housing, and other institutional food services seeking nutritious, clean and affordable alternative proteins. Planetarians will use the new funds to open a full-scale production facility for their first commercial agreements.

Planetarians worked closely with AB InBev for seven months on due diligence for its vegan meat and production process before the venture arm of the brewing giant decided to invest. The compact size (3,000ft2) of Planetarian commercial production facilities allows co-locating with brewers and or food processors interested in vegan meat on demand.

"AB InBev is committed to using our scale and expertise to support sustainable food system transformation," Bernardo Novick, Head of ZX Ventures, AB InBev venture arm, recently told VegNews. "We're excited to support new ways to bring circular solutions to the center of the plate through upcycled ingredients and alternative protein innovation. We were convinced, when we saw the acceptance by chefs!"

"We are deeply grateful for the support of Mindrock, AB InBev, and the rest of our investors," stated Max Barnthouse, Planetarians Co-founder & Chef. "Like many other hard-working entrepreneurs and scientists, we have been trying to discover an alternative protein that hits all the marks. I think we have finally found it. I cannot wait to see Planetarians' technology deployed across every brewery in the world."

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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