Hoxton Farms raises $22m Series A to cultivate animal fat

Hoxton Farms has announced a $22 million Series A round to build a pilot facility for producing cultivated fat: the “missing ingredient necessary to make meat alternatives delicious, realistic and versatile”. After receiving regulatory approval, Hoxton Farms will sell cultivated fat as a B2B ingredient for meat alternatives.

Since raising its $3.6m Seed round led by Founders Fund last year, Hoxton Farms has demonstrated the power of its computational platform. The team uses machine learning and mathematical modelling to develop proprietary bioreactors and low-cost animal-free culture media – the nutrient-rich broth used to feed cells.

Hoxton Farms is building a 13,000 sq ft pilot facility in Shoreditch, East London, to scale up its manufacturing capacity after proving the enabling technology for its production platform.

Max Jamilly, co-founder of Hoxton Farms, said the obsession with fat being the single most important sensory component in all of the meat that we eat, has driven development

“Using cultivated fat alongside plant proteins, we have shown that we can make products with the juiciness and flavour that plant-based meat has been missing,” he said. “We’re now building our pilot plant in central London so that we can show visitors a new way of making the same delicious meat.”

Jamilly continued: “Growth in the plant-based meat market has slowed to a crawl. There is more choice than ever before but consumers miss the delicious flavour and juicy texture of traditional meat. Dollar sales and market share of plant-based meat stagnated in the USA in 2021 and almost 60 per cent of US consumers are reluctant to try plant-based meat due to its taste.

“Animal agriculture has a greater worldwide impact on climate change than transport emissions and occupies 77 per cent of all agricultural land even though it supplies only 17 percent of our food3. But meat alternatives need significant improvement before we can make a dent in the intensive animal agriculture industry and shut down the last factory farm on Earth. This is where Hoxton Farms comes in.”

According to Hoxton Farms, existing “alternative proteins” underperform due to plant oils. That’s because coconut, sunflower, palm, and canola oil taste funky, degrade quickly, burn easily, melt inconsistently.

To deliver on the promise of meat made in a better way, Hoxton Farms said it cultivates real animal fat in bioreactors. Its customers combine fat with plant-based protein, bringing together the best of both cell-cultured and plant-based products. They create blended meat alternatives that give consumers the taste, texture, and nutrition that they expect.

Ed Steele, co-founder of Hoxton Farms, said, “Cost and scale are two of the biggest challenges in the cellular agriculture industry, but they aren’t talked about enough. Since we started Hoxton Farms, we have been laser-focussed on solving these problems and, thanks to our computational approach, have made significant breakthroughs. We’ve also built an incredible team, novel technology and important customer partnerships. Collaborative Fund and Fidelity are the perfect partners as we build our pilot plant and demonstrate our scale-out production process.”

Hoxton Farms is inviting Londoners to imagine a new kind of city farm. Hoxton Farms has built a “scaled out” approach using many smaller bioreactors connected through software and automation. The team have proven that this dramatically lowers the cost of producing commercial-scale cultivated fat. The startup’s new pilot facility will demonstrate this novel approach at significant volumes.

Sophie Bakalar, partner at Collaborative Fund, added, “At Collaborative Fund, we’ve been investing in better ways to produce meat for over a decade, including in companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. These brands have done a phenomenal job delivering on the protein side of the equation, but we still need a breakthrough in fat to compete with conventional meat on taste, texture, health, and cost. We’re convinced that Hoxton Farms is the company that will deliver on that promise.”

Hoxton is using computational biology and Bayesian optimisation to reduce costs, accelerate timelines, and produce a customised product unimaginable even a few years ago.

Jennifer Uhrig, partner at Fine Structure Ventures, commented: “We are extremely impressed with the technology that Hoxton Farms has developed. Combining machine learning, biology and engineering has uncovered hidden insights that dramatically improve performance throughout every stage of the production process. The proprietary scale-out approach also removes the risk of scaling beyond pilot and reduces the cost of producing cultivated fat. We are very excited to work closely with the Hoxton Farms team over the next few years.”

In addition to building its pilot facility, the Series A will enable Hoxton Farms to submit regulatory dossiers, further develop its customer partnerships to demonstrate its cultivated fat in products and improve the cost of growing cultivated fat at scale. Currently a team of over 20, they expect to reach 50 by the end of 2023.

Hoxton Farms is hiring for roles across Cell Biology, Computational Biology, Food Science and Bioprocessing.

For more information go to https://hoxtonfarms.com/

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