Hoxton Farms, a London startup that produces animal fat without using animals, has secured $22 million in a Series A round led by Collaborative Fund (an early backer of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat) and Fine Structure Ventures.
Other participating investors include Systemiq Capital, AgFunder, MCJ Collective, and previous investors Founders Fund, BACKED VC, Presight Capital, CPT Capital, and Sustainable Food Ventures.
How will the funding be used?
The company will use the funds to build London’s first pilot production facility for cultivated fat and demonstrate Hoxton Farms’ novel bioprocess at scale. It is a 13,000 sq ft pilot facility in Shoreditch, East London, to scale up its manufacturing capacity.
In addition to building its pilot facility, Series A will enable Hoxton Farms to submit regulatory dossiers, further develop its customer partnerships to demonstrate its cultivated fat in products, and improve the cost of growing cultivated fat at scale.
Currently, they have a team of over 20, and they expect to reach 50 by the end of 2023.
Growing real animal fat
Max Jamilly, Co-founder of Hoxton Farms, says, “At Hoxton Farms, we are obsessed with fat. Fat is the single most important sensory component in all of the meat that we eat. Using cultivated fat alongside plant proteins, we have shown that we can make products with the juiciness and flavour that plant-based meat has been missing. We’re now building our pilot plant in central London so that we can show visitors a new way of making the same delicious meat.”
The UK company cultivates real animal fat in bioreactors to deliver the meat better. Its customers combine a fat with plant-based protein, combining the best of both cell-cultured and plant-based products. As a result, they create blended meat alternatives that give consumers the taste, texture, and nutrition they expect – and at a fairer price.
Jamilly continues, “Growth in the plant-based meat market has slowed to a crawl. There is more choice than ever before, but consumers miss the delicious flavour and juicy texture of traditional meat. Dollar sales and market share of plant-based meat stagnated in the USA in 20211, and almost 60 percent of US consumers are reluctant to try plant-based meat due to its taste2. Animal agriculture has a greater worldwide impact on climate change than transport emissions and occupies 77 percent of all agricultural land even though it supplies only 17 percent of our food3. But meat alternatives need significant improvement before we can make a dent in the intensive animal agriculture industry and shut down the last factory farm on Earth. This is where Hoxton Farms comes in.”
The company uses machine learning and mathematical modelling to develop proprietary bioreactors and low-cost animal-free culture media – the nutrient-rich broth used to feed cells.
Ed Steele, Co-founder of Hoxton Farms, says, “Cost and scale are two of the biggest challenges in the cellular agriculture industry, but they aren’t talked about enough. Since we started Hoxton Farms, we have been laser-focused on solving these problems and, thanks to our computational approach, have made significant breakthroughs. We’ve also built an incredible team, novel technology, and important customer partnerships. Collaborative Fund and Fidelity are the perfect partners as we build our pilot plant and demonstrate our scale-out production process.”
Sophie Bakalar, Partner at Collaborative Fund, adds, “At Collaborative Fund, we’ve been investing in better ways to produce meat for over a decade, including in companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. These brands have done a phenomenal job delivering on the protein side of the equation, but we still need a breakthrough in fat to compete with conventional meat on taste, texture, health, and cost. We’re convinced that Hoxton Farms is the company that will deliver on that promise.”
Jennifer Uhrig, Partner at Fine Structure Ventures, comments, “We are extremely impressed with the technology that Hoxton Farms has developed. Combining machine learning, biology and engineering have uncovered hidden insights that dramatically improve performance throughout every stage of the production process. The proprietary scale-out approach also removes the risk of scaling beyond the pilot and reduces the cost of producing cultivated fat. We are very excited to work closely with the Hoxton Farms team over the next few years.”