The Craftory investment fund has announced it is investing in a food technology business that combines artificial intelligence and human taste buds to develop plant-based versions of animal-based products.
The investment will be used to fund new product development for Chile-based NotCo, which develops alternatives for milk, mayonnaise, meat, ice cream and other animal-based products. The company, which was founded in 2015, aims to branch out into new markets including Mexico and US later this year.
The Craftory, set up last year and based in London and San Francisco, will lead the $30m round, providing more than 60 percent of the capital raised. Other companies taking part in the round are Bezos Expeditions (Jeff Bezos’s family office) and existing investors Kaszek Ventures and IndieBio.
NotCo, which was founded by biotech guru Matías Muchnick, biochemist Pablo Zamora and computer scientist Karim Pichara, uses a machine AI platform called Giuseppe, named after the famous Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The machine analyses molecular structures to create unique food combinations from sustainable plant-based ingredients, which the company claims it does without compromising on flavour and texture.
NotCo’s first product, Not Mayo®, derived from garbanzo beans, is currently flying off the shelves in 1000 stores across Chile at stores including WalMart, Cencosud, Tottus, and Unimarc.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens among other animals are responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 7.1 gigatonnes of CO2 is produced each year from global livestock.
Matías Muchnick, co-founder & CEO at NotCo, said: “It is a great endorsement to have both The Craftory and Bezos Expeditions invest in our business as we continue to innovate and create enjoyable, sustainable new alternative food products. Their expertise in both FMCG and technology will allow us to further disrupt the food industry and expand our offering to a global audience.”
Elio Leoni Sceti, co-founder & chief crafter at The Craftory, said: “NotCo is the epitome of a mission-driven challenger brand and has the energy and capabilities to topple the traditional food production giants. Their advanced thinking combines food tech, machine AI, and plant-based ingredients to create a sustainable non-animal protein source.
“We are thrilled to be working with Matías and the NotCo team as they transform the food production industry and give people the choice to consume environmentally-conscious products.”