Integriculture Completes Seed Funding to Bring Cultured Meat to Japan
Last week, Integriculture announced that they raised JPY 300M (US$2.7M) in seed funding. Based in Tokyo, Integriculture is a Japanese startup that uses cellular agriculture to grow cultured meat. Cellular agriculture is the process of growing animal products, like meat, from cell cultures instead of raising animals for the same products. Compared to the present livestock agricultural system, cellular agriculture provides an alternative and sustainable way to produce animal products.
Integriculture’s seed round of financing was led by Real Tech Fund and featured many notable investors, including a Japanese government investment fund and Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, the CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories. The investment by the Japanese government is a significant development as it represents their support for the innovative field (meanwhile, government regulation in the US may be a huge obstacle ahead for the cellular agriculture).
Integriculture was founded by Yuki Hanyu as a spin-off from the Shojinmeat Project, which Hanyu also founded. The Shojinmeat Project is a non-profit that helps people learn more about cultured meat and grow their own cultured meat at home in Japan! Through the Shojinmeat Project, Hanyu hopes to engage and inform the public about cultured meat and its benefits.
Integriculture plans to use the funding to build its pilot plant as well as its first commercial cultured meat plant. The plants will feature Integriculture’s patented “Culnet System”, a general-purpose large-scale cell culture system, that will manage the cell cultures at scale. This system will also feature Integriculture’s very own inexpensive cell culture media that will reduce production costs of cultured meat substantially. Integriculture plan to have the pilot plant running this year and their first commercial plant running by 2020. Integriculture showcased their cultured foie gras (via chicken liver cells) in 2017, and it will be interesting to see what they will initially start producing at their plants.