Earlier last month, we covered Mooji Meats, noting the food tech startup’s plans to raise $2.5 million in seed capital to use to accelerate 3D printing technology. Turns out the Baltimore firm got all that and more.
Today, a Y Combinator alum announces a $3 million round involving The Good Startup, Collaborative Fund, Lever VC and AgFunder. Good Startup and Collaborative Fund have strong interest in this category with past investments in Impossible and Beyond respectively.
“One-third will go towards expanding our lab,” CEO Insa Mor tells TechCrunch. “We still need more equipment. One third goes to hire. We have hired seven engineers, food scientists and engineers, including 3D printing engineers. And another third goes to traditional overheads.”
Incidentally, these are the names Mooji is eyeing for its additive manufacturing process, which extrudes alternative meats on a large scale. Most of these companies specialize in plant-based meats that mimic ground beef or sausage. Mooji technology is designed to mimic whole cuts of meat. Who needs a fake burger when you can have a fake steak? The company notes that 70% of the meat market revolves around whole cuts, in stark contrast to what alternative meats offer.
“If you go to food technology conferences, this is the number one topic that everyone is talking about. It is very important for the industry to create real meat cuts,” Mohr says. “On the one hand, there is 3D printing. They create a really good, authentic mouthfeel, but it’s too expensive. On the other hand, there are cheaper technologies like traditional extrusion, electrospinning and so on that are really cheap, affordable and scalable. However, the textures don’t get good ratings when customers try it.”
Using technologies developed by SEAS Harvard University (where co-founder Jochen Müller received a postdoc), the company is working to build a system that can do the process quickly, inexpensively, and at scale. In particular, the company refers to the use of new printing technology (developed by the aforementioned Harvard team), which can print hundreds of nozzles at the same time, unlike many existing technologies that use only this.
Mooji believes this will allow the company to print on a scale comparable to more traditional technologies. However, these are still quite early stages, and the first prototype is planned to be developed in the next six months (being meat, not a printer). Meanwhile, the company hopes to bring its printers to market in the next year and a half.
Muji says he already has a line of clients, although he can’t name any names yet. The list includes two “market leaders” in Europe and one in the US.
Credit: techcrunch.com /