Startups

Meati Foods bites into another $100M amid growth to 7,000 retail locations

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Meati Foods, mushroom root, alternative protein
Image Credits: Meati Foods

Mushrooms continue to be a big area for alternative proteins. Canada-based Maia Farms recently raised $1.7 million to develop a blend of mushroom and plant-based protein using biomass fermentation. There’s also MyForest Foods and Fable Food.

Then there’s Meati Foods, which claims it’s like no other alternative protein. The company makes cutlets and steaks from mycelium, or mushroom root.

“It’s truly a next generation revolutionary protein,” CEO Phil Graves told TechCrunch. “It’s a product that’s rooted in nature. It’s not genetically modified. We just take something from nature, channel it, give it the nutrients and minerals that it needs to flourish. We then get the equivalent of hundreds of cows’ worth of protein in four or five days time.”

Perhaps that’s why Meati continues to secure some big funding.

On Wednesday, the Boulder, Colorado-based company announced an additional $100 million in a C-1 round. Existing investor Grosvenor Food & AgTech led the round and was joined by other existing investors, including Prelude Ventures, BOND, Revolution Growth and Congruent. Grosvenor is a big-time food and ag investor, having previously backed companies like AgriWebb and The Every Co.

This big rounds adds to the significant amount of venture capital Meati Foods raised in the past two years. An initial $150 million was announced in July 2022, and that round took in another $22 million in January 2023 before ultimately closing a Series C of over $200 million later on in 2023.

Much of the company’s investments were funneled into the 100,000-square-foot “Mega Ranch” facility that enables Meati to produce an annual rate of tens of millions of pounds of its protein.

However, not everything has been rosy for the company. This new funding comes three months after Meati Foods laid off 13% of its employees. At the same time, company co-founder Tyler Huggins stepped down as CEO to transition into the role of chief innovation officer. That’s when Graves, the company’s chief financial officer at the time, took the helm.

Following this latest round, Huggins, who started the company with Justin Whiteley, will transition to an advisory role.

In addition to the funding, Meati Foods is adding 2,000 retail locations that carry its products and will now be in Kroger’s family of stores by April. Three products in the Eat Meati line will be available, including the Classic cutlet as well as Classic and Carne Asada steaks.

In just over a year, the company grew from six retail locations to nearly 7,000 stores nationwide. It is also available in Super Target, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Meijer and Wegmans.

The company is usually pretty mum about its growth, and this time was no different. Graves did say that the Mega Ranch facility was fully operational. Last year, Huggins told TechCrunch that at full capacity, the facility would be able to make 45 million pounds of product annually.

“The capital basically turbocharges that growth trajectory,” Graves said. “We’ll continue that break-neck pace of growth. We’re thrilled that despite all the headwinds that our growth is still on pace. And our investors understand that. The product is best-in-class and the growth is there. We need to marry the capital to the business to continue the momentum.”

As part of the new investment, Mark Cupta from Prelude Ventures and Katrin Burt from Grosvenor Food & AgTech have joined the company as new board members.

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