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[StartupRecipe] Why Lab-Grown Meat Startups Catch Investors’ Eye

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Dec. 19 ~ Dec. 23]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 69.2 billion.

SCONVirtual Human100 millionMetaverse unicorns
Antigravityunderware platform-Pre-Series AKB Investment, Blue Point Partners, Quds Ventures
LeoLapServices generator100 millionSeedKingo Invest
PUMPEscooter20 billionSeries BTS Investment, SK, Korea Information and Communication, KB Investment, Shinhan Capital
LookeyBeuaty-M&AKorea Beauty Data
Flea AuctionArt auction500 millionSeedSmilegate Investment, Nautilus Investment, Genaxis
One peopleSecurity-Series APiolink
Brave TurtlesMetaverse-Pre-Series AFuture Play
pranaqsleeptech4.8 billionSeedNaver D2SF, DSC Investment
WavebridgeFintech10 billionSeries BAju IB Investment, KB Investment, JB Investment, NH Venture Investment, Leading Ace Capital
EloreaK-Beuaty2.6 billionSeedCJ Investment, BasS Investment, Strong Ventures
StayfolioStay Curation10 billionSeries ATBT, IBX Partners, Quad Asset Management
betterthansurfTravel-SeedJeju CCEI
QUANTUM SOLUTIONBattery solution-SeedJeju CCEI
ZerocisEnergy-SeedJeju CCEI
F-Lab & CompanyEducation-SeedMashup Angels
CloudstoneDelivery1.7 billionPre-Series ALotte Ventures, Future Play, NICE Group, Gwangju CCEI
CANDRUsed car sale-SeedTranslink Investment, Spring Camp
AlltMRO1.4 billionPre-Series AKOSMES, Daedeok Venture Partners
Second SyndromeStorage-KT estate
cigroEcommerce solution-GRANTTIPS
ThesleepfactorySleeptech-SeedMashup Angels
Uproot companyDigital Asset solution-The Invention Lab
PayworkFintech-Pre-Series AThe Invention Lab, IPS Ventures, PMF Investment, Primer sazze Partners
LboxLegal tech18 billionSeries BSV Investment, KB Investment, Aju IB Investment, Korea Development Bank

Major Funding

  • PUMP, an operator of the shared kickboard service XingXing, has secured KRW 20 billion in Series B funding. Its operating profit turned to a surplus in the third quarter. It has expanded its service nationwide and acquired Hikick, the eighth-largest company.
  •  Legal tech company LBox has received a KRW 18 billion Series B investment. It is a legal service where you can search rulings. It has 1.77 million rulings and is used by 11,000 lawyers.
  • Stay curation platform Stayfolio has raised KRW 10 billion in Series A investment. As a fine-stay platform, it offers 430 specially curated places to stay worldwide.

#Trend Analysis

Why Lab-Grown Meat Startups Catch Investors’ Eye

Interest in artificial meat, especially cultured meat, is rising these days as climate change is speeding up. It is pointed out that altering eating habits is just as important as reducing carbon dioxide emissions from livestock in order to curb global warming. Studies have shown that replacing animal products with alternatives can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent.

In early December, Israeli cultured meat company Believer Meats announced that it would build the world’s largest cultivated meat plant in the United States. The bioreactor in the factory maintains the same temperature as the animal body by giving nutrients or oxygen to the cells that were collected without injuring the animals. After incubation, the cells are retrieved, cooked, molded, and processed into products.

Primeval Foods, a British startup, plans to make some exotic cultured meat. It will collect cells from giant feline creatures like Siberian tigers, leopards, white lions, and zebras and cultivate them to produce lab-grown meat.

In Korea, several cultured meat startups have received investment this year. TissenBioFarm was founded by an artificial organ developer from POSTECH and an ICT developer from Hanyang University. The company has grafted cultured meat with 3D bioprinting technology that is used to create artificial livers and kidneys for transplant. It can produce cultured meat with desired texture and marbling.  

SeaWith is a startup that produces lab-grown Korean beef. It received a KRW 1 billion Series A investment earlier this year, bringing the total amount raised to KRW 6.5 billion. The business uses algae to produce cultured beef. It succeeded in creating lab-grown Korean beef in May 2021. It will speed up the commercialization, including building algae-based production facilities.

CellMEAT is a cultured protein startup that succeeded in developing Dokdo shrimp using cultured cells last year. In addition to Dokdo shrimp, the team will develop cell-based crustaceans, such as lobsters and crabs. It also targets international markets, such as Singapore—the only nation that has authorized the sale of meat alternatives—Asia, and the United States.

Space F has been chosen for the artificial eco-food sector of the Alchemist Project, which is being supported this year by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. Over the next five years, it will carry out research worth KRW 20 billion. In 2021, the company developed a prototype by growing stem cells taken from animal muscles in the culture fluid. In August of the same year, it received a Series A investment of KRW 7 billion.

Another cultured meat startup, Simple Planet, plans to begin selling its goods in 2024. It isolates adipose stem cells from bovine adipose tissue and re-cultivates them to get bovine fat. This fat is made up of the same composition as cow spleen. It also contains oleic acid, a type of unsaturated fatty acid.

DaNAgreen earned KRW 8 billion in Series A funding earlier this year. It has the original technology to create mini-organs by culturing and differentiating stem cells on a 3D scaffold structure, which enables mass cultivation at a lower cost. It is a hybrid technique in which muscle tissue is generated from muscle cells that have been extracted from cows, poultry, and pigs along with the surrounding cells in a three-dimensional framework of vegetable proteins.

According to Berkeley’s 2019 market research report, the alternative meat business might grow to $140 billion by 2029, which accounts for 10% of the world’s meat market. The Korea Agro-Fishery Food Distribution Corporation predicts that the Korean market would reach $22.6 million by 2025. Alternative meat, including cultured meat, is expected to continue gaining popularity due to changing eating patterns, the need to adapt to climate change, and its potential as a new growth engine.

Company NameCompany DescriptionInvestment AmountInvestment Stage
TissenBioFarmCultured MeatKRW 2.2 BillionPre-Series A
SeaWithLab-grown Korean BeefKRW 1 BillionSeries A
CellMEATCultured MeatKRW 10.01 Billion Series A
Simple planetCultured Meat
DaNAgreenCultured MeatKRW 8 BillionSeries A

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