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Aleph Farms gets $105 million investment to bring lab-grown steaks to market

Funding round is led by private equity firm L Catterton and DisruptAD, the VC arm of Abu Dhabi’s holding company ADQ; Aleph mulls manufacturing plant in UAE

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Aleph Farms ribeye steak (Aleph Farms and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology)
Aleph Farms ribeye steak (Aleph Farms and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology)

Aleph Farms, a maker of cultivated meat that grows steaks from modified cattle cells, said Wednesday it has raised $105 million in a Series B funding round from investors.

The round was led by the growth fund of L Catterton, a US-French consumer-focused private equity firm with over $30 billion in equity capital, and DisruptAD, the venture capital arm of the Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ.

The round also saw participation from Skyviews Life Science as well as a consortium of global food and meat companies including Thai Union, BRF, and CJ CheilJedang. Existing investors VisVires New Protein, Strauss Group, Cargill, Peregrine Ventures, and CPT Capital also participated in the latest round, bringing the funds raised by the startup to date to more than $118 million, the company said in a statement.

Aleph will use the funds to advance the global commercialization of its cultivated beef steaks and expand its portfolio of products ahead of its planned market launch in 2022, the company said.

To produce its meat, Aleph leverages the ability of animals to grow tissue muscle constantly and isolates the cells responsible. It then reproduces the optimal conditions for these cells to grow into tissue, basically growing meat outside the animal.

The tissue is grown in tanks that act as fermenters, similar to those in a brewery. There the cells are nurtured and shaped into a 3D structure that makes the meat.

Aleph Farms thin cut steak (Courtesy)

DisruptAD’s investment in Aleph Farms aims to help bolster Abu Dhabi’s long-term focus on food resilience, the statement said. As strategic partners, DisruptAD and Aleph Farms will mull setting up a manufacturing facility in Abu Dhabi to supply its cultivated meat products across the UAE and the broader GCC region, the statement said.

DisruptAD invests in startups and venture capital funds and sets up new incubators and accelerators to help Abu Dhabi become a destination for startups and to accelerate the development of its own innovation ecosystem. DisruptAD invests across the UAE as well as other global markets including the Middle East and North Africa , India, China, Southeast Asia and the United States. The VC fund aims to support and nurture over 1,000 startups by 2025, the statement said.

“This additional capital from top-tier partners with unparalleled experience and expertise brings us significantly closer to our vision of providing secure and unconditional access to high-quality nutrition to anyone, anytime, anywhere,” said Didier Toubia, the co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms.

Mansour AlMulla, chief investment officer of DisruptAD, said Aleph Farms is the firm’s first Israel-based partner, and added that the partnership “underpins our long-term desire to accelerate the path for technology pioneers and change leaders that are building technologies of tomorrow.”

Aleph Farms was founded in 2017 by Toubia, The Kitchen Hub of the Strauss Group, and Prof. Shulamit Levenberg from the Biomedical Engineering Faculty at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

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