Founders growing meat in labs raised a huge $600 million in 2022. Check out the pitch deck used by Multus to raise $9.5 million to make slaughter-free growth serum.
This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.
- Growing meat from cells in a lab could be a climate-friendly way to stay a carnivore.
- London startup Multus has raised $9.5 million for its growth serum.
- We got an exclusive peek inside the 12-slide redacted pitch deck it used to raise the funds.
The food system is often touted as one of climate change’s greatest challenges. The use of arable land, degrading agriculture processes and burping livestock each contribute to global warming. On top of that, industrial farming can impact human health through the overuse of antibiotics and hormones.
Cai Linton is hoping to do his bit to solve these challenges as the cofounder and CEO of cultivated meat startup Multus, which has just secured $9.5 million in funding. “The massive motivation is to create a food production system that’s good for the planet, and people,” he told Insider.
Lab-grown or cultivated meat is real meat grown from the cells of an animal in a controlled environment, as opposed to rearing and slaughtering said animals.
The nascent sector secured a record $603.7 million in venture dollars in 2022, more than double the total raised just two years prior, according to PitchBook.
Cultivated meat’s first proof-of-concept was nearly nine years ago but the sector still faces big hurdles, such as regulatory approval; how difficult it is to grow enough meat this way to meet demand; costs; and consumer acceptance.
Singapore approved lab-grown meat for sale in late 2020 and remained the only country to do so until November 2022, when the US government gave Upside Foods the green light to sell its cultivated food.
Rather than cultivating meat itself, London-based Multus is part of the supply chain. It offers an alternative to fetal bovine serum, or fetal calves’ blood, which provides cells with a cocktail of nutrients that they need to grow, also known as “growth media.”
Animal-based growth media is holding the sector back, according to CEO Linton. As well as its ethical implications, fetal bovine serum is costly and inconsistent, he said. “It’s a byproduct of the animal industry so it’s dictated by seasonal conditions such as supply, demand and disease, and that can increase or decrease the amount of fetal bovine serum produced every year and the quality of that product.”
Founded in 2020, Multus already offers a one-size-fits-all growth media that it claims is demonstrated to grow muscle, fat, and connective tissue cells for meat, poultry, and seafood. It is now honing in on specific use cases to help cultivated meat manufacturers nail the taste and texture of their products. It expects to bring a range of products to market in 2023, including a growth media specifically for beef. The end goal is to also provide growth media for lab-grown dairy and leather.
As well as off-the-shelf products, Multus takes advantage of data and automation to discover new growth media ingredients and formulations. Most of this data is proprietary, Linton said, as the company’s 14-strong team is constantly running cell-growing experiments to try and find affordable and high-performance recipes.
Multus has won the backing of Brazil-based food-focused firm Mandi Ventures, which lead the round. Linton was impressed by the team’s experience scaling raw materials for the cultivated meat industry, he said. The CEO added that he was careful to put together a team of investors with appropriate experience scaling manufacturing businesses, who have regulatory or scientific experience and know how to navigate a downturn.
Venture capital firms SOSV, Big Idea Ventures, and SynBioVen also participated in the round. The fresh cash, also includes a $2.5 million grant from Innovate UK via its EIC Accelerator, will be used to build a food-safe production plant and bolster headcount to 20 by the end of the year.
We got an exclusive look at the 12-slide redacted pitch deck it used to raise the funds, which brings Multus’ total raised to $12 million.