Jeff Bezos-backed NotCo gets funding at $1.5-billion valuation

Bengaluru: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos-backed NotCo has raised $235 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global, valuing the plant-based foodtech startup at $1.5 billion.

The financing also saw participation of sportspersons Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer, venture capital firm DFJ Growth Fund and social impact foundation ZOMA Lab pitch.

The company, which makes plant-based milk, burger patties, meat and ice creams, plans to use the new funding to expand in Asia and Europe and produce newer products for the North American market. NotCo also plans to invest more on Giuseppe, its AI technology that explores new combinations of plants to replicate animal-based food products.

“Many companies have reached NotCo to say ‘can you do a plant-based version of our products’. In that way, we can become the ‘Intel Inside’ of other products,” NotCo Chief Executive Officer Matias Muchnick told Reuters.

Health and environment-conscious consumers have been adding plant-based foods to their diets, prompting several firms to launch their own versions following the success of industry leaders Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

During the pandemic, demand for plant-based faux meat has surged as consumers seek safe and healthy alternatives. Investment into plant-based foods reached about $1.7 billion in 2020, up nearly three times compared with 2019, according to research firm PitchBook. It projects the alt-proteins market to touch nearly $8 billion this year.

“Covid-19 raised the awareness of the plant-based food category. The growth of the category was massive,” Muchnick said.

NotCo launched its plant-based milk NotMilk in the United States seven months ago and is on track to reach 8,000 retail outlets by the end of year, it said.



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