Excited for the Future of Meat
By Steve Jurvetson, DFJ Partner
Memphis Meats announced its Series A syndicate today, and it is a fascinating group of people coming together to help the world modernize the manufacturing of meat by removing animals from the process. It is identical to the meat we eat, down to the cellular level; it’s just the manufacturing method that radically changes.
For full disclosure, DFJ led the $17 million Series A, and I will be joining the board. It has been hard to contain my excitement as I have been looking for a meat solution for five years now.
Since signing the term sheet, I have been wearing their t-shirt for a month now, and it is quite an evangelical conversation starter, generating keen interest the likes of which I have rarely seen before (e.g., Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Kimbal Musk joined us).
We also got leading research institutions and some of the largest meat industry corporations to join the syndicate.
Memphis Meats is the early leader in clean meat, a sustainable alternative to one of the most inefficient and archaic manufacturing processes on the planet. Rather than a meat substitute, they will sell real meat, without harming any animals. No methane production. No inefficient feedstock conversion. No wasted land, fertilizer, antibiotics, or excess water use. The product goal is to do this at a much lower cost than current animal harvesting and with better taste, nutritional value, and environmental benefit. They produce duck, chicken, and beef today, and should be able to produce all meats by the same methods.
They have a fantastic team and a deep passion to save the world by modernizing the world’s meat consumption (and the tsunami of future meat demand from the Chinese middle class) by offering a better product without compromise, much like Tesla offers a better product that also lets you feel good about your life choices. An industry shift in “experienced goods” needs a harbinger, a company that shows that there is a better way and catalyzes the incumbents to make a change they otherwise would ignore.
Meat production is a trillion-dollar sector that commands an even larger portion of global resources… 1/3 of arable land on Earth… ¼ of methane production (the potent greenhouse gas)… and inefficiently consuming food that could otherwise feed 4 billion people. The potential to be 10–100x more efficient is fairly straightforward from first principles, looking at the resources needed to just grow the meat, and not the whole animal. Let the progress be called Moo’s Law. J
I saw the inevitability of manufacturing meat without animals long before I found a compelling way to get there. I can’t imagine harvesting animals for slaughter 500 years from now. And certainly not on Mars. ;)
In 2012, I shared my quest online, and saw how the availability of an alternative might accelerate the development of human morality and expand our circle of empathy.
So, let’s applaud Memphis Meats on their mission to catalyze the modernization of meat and help save the world.
P.S. Big thanks to meat futurist Christiana Wyly for introducing me to Uma Valeti, the CEO of Memphis Meats, at the Slush conference in Helsinki of all places.