Naomi Osaka and Steve Aoki Invest in Plant-Based Chicken Startup

Photo split three ways shows: Steve Aoki in a blue and pink shirt, Daring Foods plant-based chicken, and Naoki Osaka

The plant-based meat industry can now count tennis pro Naomi Osaka and renowned DJ and record producer Steve Aoki among its many celebrity investors. The two, along with American football quarterback Cameron Newton, backed vegan chicken startup Daring Foods during its most recent funding round.

Founded in 2018, Los Angeles-based Daring Foods announced this week that it had raised $65 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total funding over the past 12 months to more than $120 million. This follows a $40 million Series B round in May and an $8 million series A round last October. The company also saw 900 percent growth over the 12-month period and will use the new funding for expansion and the development of new products, which will launch in the coming months as well as next year.

Daring’s plant-based chicken comes to Walmart

In addition to the funding news, Daring Foods has launched its product lineup in more than 3,000 Walmart stores across the U.S. The startup’s products can also be found in Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Kroger with Wegmans and Albertsons coming soon. Daring Foods makes four varieties of plant-based chicken made from soy protein, including Original, Breaded, Lemon & Herb, and Cajun. Each product contains only five ingredients.

CEO Ross Mackay told TechCrunch that Daring Foods’ short ingredients list sets the brand apart from other plant-based meat products.

“Eighty percent of people changing to a plant-based diet do it for health reasons. They want to be able to trust the ingredient profile, and at Daring, we can say absolutely it is healthy,” he said. According to a Bloomberg Intelligence report released this past August, the plant-based meat market could hit $74 billion in sales in the next decade.

Curious to know who among the stars is investing in the plant-based food market? Check out our list here.