Updated June 17, 2019. Chilean vegan startup NotCo has secured a $30 million investment from the office of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
The funding comes by way of the Craftory, a new fund co-founded by consumer industry veteran Elio Leoni Sceti, and Bezos Expeditions.
“We were looking for the perfect first investment since the creation of The Craftory last summer,” Sceti said in a statement. “NotCco are at the beginning of their journey, and can become a global brand.”
NotCo says it will use the funding to develop more products and expand its distribution. the Chile-based company currently sells a vegan mayonnaise made from chickpeas instead of eggs or dairy. But the company plans to bring more than just the mayonnaise to Mexico and the U.S. later this year. According to Vegconomist, it signed a deal with Brazilian supermarket chain Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) to offer its products.
It’s actively working on new products across all animal-based categories. Similar to Bay Area food tech company JUST, NotCo, founded by biotechnologist Matias Muchnick, biochemist Pablo Zamora, and computer scientist Karim Pichara, is working to develop a roster of ingredients that can simulate animal products like eggs, meat, and dairy by using a software platform that identifies plants with a similar molecular structure to the animal products.
The brand aims to take a bite out of the booming vegan market. No longer just for vegans, the market is shifting toward flexitarianism — consumers actively reducing their meat and dairy intake for plant-based alternatives.
“In the US, retail sales of plant-based meat alternatives rose almost 25 per cent to roughly $770m in the 12 months to August 2018,” Financial Times notes. “Raising livestock for food production generates 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, with cattle accounting for roughly two-thirds of the total.”
According to Sceti, NotCo has a “very long list” of Silicon Valley investors eager to back the brand.
“The potential is massive because NotCo is not just a meat-replacement company or a milk-replacement company,” Sceti told Financial Times. “The technology can be applied to all foods derived from animals.”
Muchnick, NotCo’s founder and CEO praised the investment. “It is a great endorsement to have both The Craftory and Bezos Expeditions invest in our business as we continue to innovate and create enjoyable, sustainable new alternative food products,” he said in a statement.
“Their expertise in both FMCG and technology will allow us to further disrupt the food industry and expand our offering to a global audience.”
Another Bezos-backed investment fund made headlines last February when it invested in Motif Ingredients, a Boston-based startup working to replicate meat through bacterial and yeast cultivation.