Cultivated Bioscience secures $5m to move forward with yeast-based creamer production

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Cultivated Biosciences
Source: Cultivated Biosciences

Related tags Yeast dairy-free creamer

Food and biotech startup Cultivated Biosciences will move forward with developing its yeast-based dairy-free, non-GMO cream after raising $5m in a seed round, with plans for market launch in 2025.

With its new funding, Cultivated Bioscience will focus on scaling up production of its yeast-derived creamer for dairy-free products in the food industry -- building on operation and production progress made since raising $1.5 in a pre-seed round in September 2022. 

The company’s yeast-based cream is intended to replace additives used in traditional dairy-free products, while improving texture and stability without impacting taste. Derived from a patented oleaginous yeast produced from yeast biomass fermentation, Cultivated Bioscience’s method “does not aim to replicate dairy cream on a molecular level,” but instead achieve functional and sensory parity, according to the company.

Containing fats, proteins, fibers and yeast lipid droplets that are similar to the structure of milk fat, the yeast cream is cheaper to produce and easier to scale, the company claims.

Having successfully applied its technology in products like coffee creamers, milk and ice cream, the company sets its sights on the broader food industry with a B2B launch planned for 2025.

Investors 'need more convincing,' want to see results

Funding for the seed round saw broad support for the company's work towards achieving taste, texture, and functional parity for dairy-free products, in addition to environmental initiatives of reducing CO2 emissions from dairy production, Tomas Turner, CEO, Cultivated Biosciences, said in a statement.

Of the seed round, Lucie Rein, Cultivated Biosciences' chief commercial officer, explained to FoodNavigator-USA that "it took longer than in 2021, investors did need more convincing and wanted to see achievements that were before expected for post-seed round startups."

She added, "We needed to stress our differentiators. There were many questions on scalability and costs at scale that we were able to convince [them] on thanks to a solid techno-economic analysis. We also managed to show our traction with many industrial partners interested [in] or already advancing developments with our ingredient."

The investment round was led by Navus Ventures, a Dutch VC firm focused on promoting sustainable food and energy systems, along with Founderful, a Swiss tech VC firm and early investor in Cultivated Biosciences, in addition to other early investors, including HarkCapital and Planted founder, Lukas Böni.

New investors for this round included US-based Joyful VC​, Mandi Ventures and Zürcher Kantonalbank.

Within the turbulent venture investment market, 2024 is expected to see a potential for a more stable and positive year for VC investments compared to the recent challenging years, according to Crunchbase data​. Last year, M&A activity around VC-funded companies decreased to just over 1,600 deals, compared to nearly 2,500 completed deals in 2022 and more than 3,100 completed deals in 2021.

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