Future Meat Technologies of Jerusalem raised $14 million in Series A round toward expanding R&D efforts and building the world’s first cultured-meat pilot production facility.

Estimated to begin operations in 2020, the plant near Tel Aviv will make cost-efficient, GMO-free meat from animal cells. Future Meat’s sustainable manufacturing model is expected to use 99% less land and emit 80% less greenhouse gas than traditional meat production.

Cross section of grilled cultured chicken (bottom) compared to farmed chicken (top). © Future Meat Technologies

“With this investment, we’re thrilled to bring cultured meat from the lab to the factory floor and begin working with our industrial partners to bring our product to market,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies.

The process involves rapidly growing connective tissue cells (fibroblasts) in bioreactors to reach high densities as the foundation of cultured (also called “clean”) meat.

The company aims to introduce hybrid products, combining plant proteins for texture and cultured fats that create the distinct aroma and flavor of meat.

With current small-scale production costs of $150 per pound of chicken and $200 per pound of beef, Future Meat Technologies plans to release its hybrid products at a competitive cost level from its pilot production facility by 2021. A second line of 100% cultured meat products at a cost of less than $10 per pound is to be launched by 2022.

Future Meat founder and CSO Prof. Yaakov Nahmias flanked by EVP R&D Moria Shimoni and CEO Rom Kshuk. Photo by Dudi Moskovitz © Future Meat Technologies

“The worldwide demand for protein is growing exponentially, and the only way to meet this demand is by fundamentally reinventing animal agriculture,” said Hebrew University Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, the company’s founder and chief scientist.

The funding round was led by Chicago-based venture capital firm S2G Ventures, one of the forces behind Beyond Meat’s IPO; and Swiss-based Emerald Technology Ventures, with participation Monde CEO Nissin Henry Soesanto, UK-based Manta Ray Ventures, and Chinese food and agriculture tech VC Bits x Bites.

“The Future Meat team has developed a technology platform and roadmap that offers the cleanest and most efficient means of cell-based meat production, both in terms of capital expenditure and cost per pound, that we’ve seen to date,” said Matthew Walker, managing director at S2G Ventures.