Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, revealed on Jan. 29 it has invested an unspecified amount in Memphis Meats, one of the startup companies creating "cultured meat," produced directly from animal cells.
"The investment is an example of Tyson Foods’ commitment to explore innovative, new ways of meeting growing global demand for protein," the company said in a statement.
While the terms were not disclosed, Tyson Foods investment represents a minority stake in the business. Tyson joins a diverse group of investors in Memphis Meats, including DFJ, Atomico, Cargill, Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing meat, especially since global protein demand has been increasing at a steady rate,” said Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business, but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.”
“Our vision is for the world to eat what it loves, in a way that addresses today’s challenges for the environment, animal welfare and public health," said Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats. "We are accelerating our work and building out a world-class team to make this a reality.”
Memphis Meats expects to use the funds to accelerate product development. The company is currently recruiting to expand its team of chefs, scientists, creative people and business people.
This is at least the second investment in alternative protein sources by the Tyson venture capital fund. In December, Tyson made its second investment in plant-based protein producer Beyond Meat. A year earlier, Tyson took a 5 percent ownership stake in the business, which also has additional investors.