Unicorn Biotechnologies, a UK-based B2B startup, developing a next-generation biomanufacturing platform to scale cultivated meat production, has secured an oversubscribed $3.2m seed round.
This new funding is led by Acequia Capital, with participation from SOSV, Marinya Capital, Alumni Ventures, C3, and CULT Food Science among other investors. This investment will be used to accelerate their research and development and commercialization efforts.
Unicorn Biotechnologies was founded by experienced scientist and bioengineer Dr. Adam Glen, and Fulbright Fellow Jack Reid at Entrepreneur First (EF) in 2020, and subsequently received pre-seed funding from EF and SOSV’s HAX.
Cultivated meat is a promising alternative protein solution to improve human and planetary health. However, for the field to become a viable alternative to animal agriculture, one challenge looms large: bioreactors.
Reaching even a 1% penetration of the global meat market with alternative proteins will require an infrastructure buildout to 10X the global biomanufacturing capacity, according to McKinsey.
“Most biomanufacturing systems were designed and optimized for bacteria and yeast, or are focused on making the byproducts of mammalian cells, not the cells themselves. Our central tenant is to build new engineering systems around the cells, rather than trying to fit these cells to existing engineering systems” says Dr. Adam Glen, Co-founder of Unicorn Biotechnologies.
The company is developing affordable, fully automated biomanufacturing systems, to unlock cost-efficient platforms for rapidly scaling cultivated meat manufacturing and enabling the transition to animal-free agriculture.
“Working with our talented team of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers is incredibly energizing. Everyone is putting in the hours at the whiteboard, the workshop and the lab to create new solutions to solve the biggest challenges preventing cultivated meat from scaling to mass markets” - says Jack Reid, Co-founder of Unicorn Biotechnologies.
“We are seeing a wave of new founders and teams innovating in cultured foods at the cellular level using off the shelf hardware. While this is fine for prototyping, we’ll need purpose built hardware/software solutions to bring cultivated meat to the market at scale. We are excited to help Unicorn Biotechnologies build the infrastructure for the cultivated meat industry.” - says Leif Danielsen, Partner at Acequia Capital.
“SOSV has a deep history of investing in the cultivated meat sector through IndieBio. We believe meat should be cruelty-free and low carbon. We need new biomanufacturing archetypes to become the pastures of tomorrow, fuelling this emergent industry and bringing cultivated meats to the masses.” - says Duncan Turner, General Partner at SOSV and Managing Director of HAX.
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