Singapore-based Next Gen announces largest plant-based seed funding10 Mar 2021
Food tech startup Next Gen closed a $10 million seed round, giving the company the right to claim the largest ever seed funding round for a plant-based food tech company, according to Pitchbook data cited by the startup. Along with the influx of funding, Next Gen announced that it will launch its plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE in Singaporean restaurants in March.
Investors in the round include Temasek, K3 Ventures, the New Ventures arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), NX Food, FEBE Ventures and Blue Horizon.
The $10 million fundraising round exceeded the company’s goal of $7 million and builds on the $2.2 million that the startup’s founders, Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, brought to the company when they founding the enterprise in October last year. Such a substantial seed fund is hardly surprising when looking at the history of the two co-founders. Recker was the founder and CEO of German plant-based meat company, LikeMeat, which was acquired last year by the LIVEKINDLY Collective. Menezes was the General Manager of Country Foods Singapore, which focused on innovative, sustainable products, but he also has a significant background working in animal-based poultry production.
With their combined skillsets, the two co-founders chose to pursue chicken thighs as the initial product developed at Next Gen. According to the company, since the ingredient is versatile, it is used in a variety of cuisines and has a fat content that emulates the aromas and cooking experience of animal-based chicken. However, chicken thighs are only the beginning. The company said it intends to expand worldwide, targeting the U.S., China, Brazil and Europe, as well as increase its product offerings.
Nevertheless, the startup chose to initiate its entry into the plant-based protein world in Asia, where demand for alternative proteins is growing. According to DuPont N&B, demand for plant-based products in Asia will jump 200% in the next five years. That surge in sales will result in a market worth $12.75 billion by 2030, according to Technavio data.
Singapore in particular has become a hotbed for innovative protein alternatives in recent months. Not only are there a handful of notable startups like TurtleTree Labs, Shiok Meats and Life3 Biotech, but there is also a push from the Singaporean government to invest in plant-based and cell-based protein alternatives. In fact, the country’s approval of Eat Just’s cultured chicken last December marked the first time that a country approved any cell-based meat for commercial sale.
In such an innovation-friendly environment, it will be worth watching Next Gen which has managed to raise $12.2 million in under six months by offering products that consumers are asking for.
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