Parisian cultivated meat startup Gourmey has raised €48m in new funding — the world’s largest Series A round for a company in the sector, according to Dealroom.
Gourmey, which produces artificial foie gras as its flagship product, will use the funding to build a production facility in Paris, set to be Europe’s largest cultivated meat production site.
The round was led by Earlybird Venture Capital and included participation from a long roster of investors: Keen Venture Partners, Heartcore Capital, Point Nine Capital, Air Street Capital, Partech, Discovery, Omnes Capital, Eutopia, Beyond Investing and Singapore-based Thia Ventures.
France’s public investment bank, Bpifrance, also invested, as did Fidji Simo, the CEO of Instacart.
The new investment brings Gourmey’s total funding so far to €56m, after a seed round in July last year.
What’s cultivated meat?
Cultivated meat is produced using fermenters, like the ones used for brewing beer. To make foie gras, for example, Gourmey takes stem cells from a fertilised duck egg and places them in fermenting tanks that contain the same nutrients as an egg. There, the cells replicate themselves.
The process reduces emissions by cutting the land and crops needed to produce meat. A recent study suggested the process could cut emissions by 92%, and vastly reduces reliance on animal-derived products.
“Food is the single strongest lever we can action as individuals to slow down climate change. Today, we are thrilled to see our vision of a more sustainable food system come to life,” says Nicolas Morin-Forest, founder of Gourmey.
What’s Gourmey working on?
Gourmey’s initial focus is on premium and high-quality meats, like foie gras, but Morin-Forest told Sifted at the end of last year that the company will move into other meats too.
“Foie gras is just the first application of our current know-how,” he said. “With the same starting cells, we can create any type of poultry meat product.”
Gourmey is set to open a 46k square foot commercial production and R&D facility in Paris. It’ll also expand its team from 40 to 120 people by 2024, including engineers and chefs.
The investment is a clear sign of investor faith in the growing cultivated meat sector — even though the products are yet to be approved for consumption in any European country. That’s right — you can’t buy Gourmey products in any shop yet.
“As of today, we are working hand in hand with the food safety authorities and agencies to obtain regulatory approval and bring our product to market in the safest conditions in several geographies like Singapore, the US, the UK and the EU,” Morin-Forest tells Sifted.
“For now, Singapore is the only market where we can sell but we are confident more will come soon.”
At present, there is just one company in the world licensed to sell cultivated meat: Eat Just, which is headquartered in San Francisco and sells its product in Singapore.