Dutch cultivated meat startup secures 40M for worlds kindest burger

In 2013, Dutch scientist Mark Post unveiled the world's first cultivated meat burger on live television — taking lab-grown meat from the realm of science fiction to science fact. 

Post ended up turning his invention into a startup called Mosa Meat. The new venture promised to bring the “world's kindest burger” to supermarket shelves. 

Today, Mosa Meat announced it has secured another €40mn — just two years after closing a $85mn Series B funding round. Lowercarbon Capital and M Ventures led the round, alongside existing investors including actor Leonardo DiCaprio. 

The freshing funding comes as US politicians wage a culture war against cultivated meat. Since the beginning of the year, Republicans in at least seven states have introduced legislation to ban sales or distribution of lab-grown meat.

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In a bid to win over conservative voters, last year Italy also banned the production of lab-grown meat in a law put forward by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. 

“Some governments are more forward thinking than others about addressing the challenges in our food systems,” Maarten Bosch, CEO of Mosa Meat, told TNW. “The laggards making policy decisions based on unfounded fears and misinformation will miss the boat.” 

Last year, the US became the second country in the world, after Singapore, to approve the sale of cultivated meat. 

“The states looking to preemptively ban cultivated meat will only push those economic opportunities for businesses and farmers beyond their state lines,” said Bosch, who believes the cultivated meat and seafood market will still thrive in the US despite opposition.

Global interest in cultivated meat remains strong, driven by the demand for more ethical, climate-friendly food options. One study found cultivated meat has the potential to cut the climate impact of meat by up to 92%, reduce air pollution by up to 94%, and use up to 90% less land.  

Last year, the Netherlands became the first country in the European Union to pre-approve tastings of food grown directly from animal cells. 

Mosa Meat recently opened a new factory in Maastricht, as it looks to ramp up production. The company is set to hold the first tastings of its cultivated burgers in the Netherlands this May, it told TNW.    

The company's latest funding round comes amid one of history's biggest downturns in VC activity, which has hit cultivated meat startups particularly hard and forced the sector to consolidate. 

“The overall macroeconomic landscape has been rough in the last two years, which has culled the herd of companies and forced us to be even more strategic and focused on achieving our mission,” said Maarten Bosch, CEO of Mosa Meat. 

Although interest in cultivated meat in Europe is high, it will likely take at least a few years before it hits the supermarket shelves, says the Good Food Institute, a non-profit that promotes animal protein alternatives. Unlike the FDA in the US, the approval process in the EU takes a lot longer, requiring buy-in from all 27 member states. 

Update (20:56 CET, April 16, 2024): This article previously stated that Mosa Meat had completed its Series B funding round two month ago. It is in fact two year ago. We apologise for any confusion caused by this error.

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