Meati Foods sinks teeth into $150M to expand its mushroom-root meat operations

Meati Foods, which is developing the Eat Meati brand of proteins made from mushroom root, is poised to begin shipping its plant-based meat product later this year after closing on $150 million in new Series C funding.

The round, which gives the company $278.6 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase data, was led by Revolution Growth, with participation from existing and new investors, including CPP Investments, Grosvenor, Wellington Management and Chipotle Mexican Grill’s new venture fund, Cultivate Next. Meati is among Cultivate’s first cohort of investments.

Founded in 2017, Meati makes whole-cut meats that are 95% mushroom root and have as much as 17 grams of protein, 12 grams of dietary fiber and a healthy dose of zinc and vitamin B12.

The company is among a handful of startups leveraging mycelium, the structural fibers of fungi, to make healthier protein options than traditional animal products. Fellow companies include Perfect Day, MyForest Foods and Fable Food.

We profiled Meati in 2021, when the company announced $46 million in both equity and debt investments. At that time, co-founder and CEO Tyler Huggins, who started Meati with Justin Whiteley, had 30 employees and was starting a pilot plant.

Today, it has 150 people and made its retail debut this month in restaurants throughout Colorado and Arizona after selling mainly online. Meati has had “multiple months of record sellouts” online, and the company has plans to expand its national footprint in the U.S. by 2023, Huggins said.

The new funding enables the company to complete its over 100,000-square-foot Mega Ranch facility in Colorado. Once it ramps up, the facility will have the capability of producing over 45 million pounds of product. In addition, the company is also breaking ground on its first Giga Ranch, a facility it will replicate all over the world, with plans to produce hundreds of millions of pounds annually.

“We will be, at that point, one of the largest single ‘beef’ producers in the United States,” Huggins told TechCrunch. “We will set the gold standard for how we can produce in a clean, nutritious, delicious and sustainable way.”

Huggins plans to get Meati into “10,000 doors by the end of 2023,” with a goal of reaching a $1 billion in revenue run rate by 2025. For now, “it’s more of an issue for us to supply and demand in order to move as fast as we possibly can,” he added.

Indeed, how companies in the plant-based and cultivated meat sectors scale to meet consumer demand has long been a burning question, especially as companies like Meati and UPSIDE Foods take in hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.

For example, this week, Meatable, a Dutch company in the cultivated meat space, unveiled its first pork sausage product but told my colleague Paul Sawers that it is still looking at another three years before it launches commercially.

Therefore, it is promising to finally see companies like Meati and UPSIDE Foods announce how closer they are to broader commercialization of their products.

“The research is done,” Huggins said. “It’s now time to scale. We are continuing to finish out our production facility with the Mega Ranch and lay the groundwork for the Giga brands. We want to have the support mechanisms of staff in place to make sure that we can support this rapid growth.”

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