In San Francisco, Prolific Machines has emerged from stealth mode and announced $42 million in funding for its scalable cultivated meat platform. Backers in the “massively oversubscribed” seed and Series A financings include a long list of major foodtech investors and celebrities.
The seed round was led by Arvind Gupta at Mayfield, the first investor in cultured meat. The Series A was led by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Other participants include high-profile investors such as David Adelman, Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks), The Kraft Group (owners of the New England Patriots), David Rubenstein, Michael Rubin, Breyer Capital, The SALT Fund, Purple Orange Ventures, Fred Blackford, Jake Poliskin, and Baruch Future Ventures. A number of celebrities and restaurateurs have also invested, including Kevin Love, Tobias Harris, Meek Mill, Ciara & Russell Wilson, Emily Ratajkowski, Maverick Carter, Sean Feeney, Michael Schulson, Mark Bucher, and RJ Melman.
Prolific Machines is unique in that they are inventing the scalable manufacturing process first, and a product second—the oppositive of most cultivated meat startups. The company says it aims to do for biology what Henry Ford did for automobiles—essentially creating a scalable assembly. It is building a 25,000 square foot headquarters in Emeryville, California and ramping up hiring to expand programs in fish, poultry, and beef.
“Prior to meeting Prolific we had come to the conclusion that a fundamental breakthrough would be required for cultured meat to be economically competitive with conventional meat production,” says Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “We believe that Prolific Machines may be this breakthrough. Prolific’s novel technology has the potential to enable the cost-competitive production of high-quality cultured meat products and they have the team to execute it.”