Most of us have a variety of fermented food products in our kitchen: you can’t make tofu, chocolate, vinegar, or bread without pleasant microorganisms that can be produced at scale.
Today, precision fermentation is innovating the alternative protein industry, as food tech startups find the best methods to make eggs, dairy, meat and seafood in bioreactors that taste “real” – and have similar prices.
According to The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that studies alternative proteins, fermentation startups received $290 million of the $911 million investors invested in alternative protein companies in the first quarter of 2022.
“To date, meat, seafood, egg and fermentation-derived dairy companies have raised more than $3 billion since GFI began tracking these investments in 2010,” reports Christine Hall, who has taken a closer look at the sector for TechCrunch+ this week.
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Its history is a hodgepodge of food tech companies that make products like honey without bees and eggs that didn’t come from birds. Now that so many early entrants in the alternative protein market are on supermarket shelves, food technology investors are licking their lips.
“There’s a lot of room here, and the winners may not be the names we know today,” said David Kestenbaum, general partner at ZX Ventures. “I think it will be the next generation of names that are coming up right now.”
Thank you so much for reading TechCrunch+ this week. Have a happy June!
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+
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Dear Sophie: Which visa is best for starting a startup?
I am a founder from Germany. Our product is already generating about $200,000/year right off the bat. Our clients are primarily based in the US and we do not plan to raise any capital from investors.
I’ve been researching the new startup visa option and the E-2 and L-1B visas, and I’ve been pretty focused on building the product, so I’m not famous.
What is my best choice to bootstrap my US startup?
— Game change in Germany
Fearless Fund’s Arian Simone on why a downturn is normal business for minority founders
In the US, women of color are the most entrepreneurial demographic, but they are also more likely to fall into a funding gap when they need access to capital.
Of the $330 billion in venture capital funding that startups received last year, “fewer than five women of color raised money beyond the Series A stage, and one of them was Rihanna,” reports Dominic-Madori Davis.
To help level the playing field for minority women working in technology and consumer goods, entrepreneur Arian Simone co-founded the Fearless Fund in 2019 with business consultant Ayana Parsons and actress Keshia Knight Pulliam.
The fund has supported 31 companies so far and, despite the chill in the markets, it has no plans to slow down.
“Venture-backed companies have seen their fair share of horror stories,” Simone said. “They are not normally shaken by the current macroeconomic climate.”
Is consolidation on the horizon for the Southeast Asian tech industry?
The super-application business model is paying dividends in Southeast Asia.
Grab’s “everyday app” offerings range from grocery delivery to investment services; Malaysia-based AirAsia has renamed itself Capital A as it expands its offerings to include carpooling, food delivery and more.
These companies are not building these new business units from scratch: they are using strategic acquisitions to enter new markets and eliminate competition.
“As more tech companies look to the super-application business model to retain users and increase monetization, we can expect more inorganic expansion and consolidation in the coming years,” says Amit Anand, founding partner at Jungle Ventures.
Pitch Deck Takedown: Ergeon’s $40M Series B Deck
Need a new fence or garage? Ergeon offers consumers a way to buy bespoke construction projects that may be too small for a general contractor, but are more than a DIY job.
Fresh off a $40 million Series B, founder and CEO Jenny He shared all 16 slides from her April 2022 deck, including a redacted growth trajectory slide that outlines the company’s path to $10. billion in revenue by 2027.
Cryptocurrency founders face plummeting valuations and closed deals amid market volatility
As cryptocurrency markets tend to plummet, investors who were closing in on the web3 founders for a seat at the cap table less than three months ago are now playing hard to get, and the founders are paying the price.
With VCs now pulling out of deals or renegotiating previously agreed valuations, cryptocurrency founders are struggling to rise as a recession looms and capital dries up, Jacquelyn Melinek reported.
“It’s shocking how willing VCs are to take advantage of people in this situation,” said a founder of a gaming cryptocurrency startup.
3 climate tech VCs share how they find, examine and support carbon reduction startups
This week at TC Sessions: Climate 2022, Tim De Chant spoke with three active investors in climate technology to learn more about how they identify new opportunities and what they are looking for right now.
- Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner, DCVC Bio
- Christian Garcia, partner, Breakthrough Energy Ventures
- Pae Wu, General Partner of SOSV, CTO of IndieBio
“Our job is to take risks, to a degree, and to take risks on teams that we think are really talented,” Stead said.
“So that’s one part of the equation,” he added. “But the other side of the equation is that the world doesn’t get the benefit of anything unless it can scale, unless it’s bankable, unless there’s a big market with it and it’s profitable.”
Why Software Ratings Might Drop Further If Things Don’t Change Soon
The value of tech companies – private and public – has plummeted significantly as investors have taken a step back.
But things are getting worse for software companies: The Fed raised US interest rates by 75 basis points yesterday — the biggest single rate increase since 1994 — and these startups are likely to feel the repercussions directly in their valuations soon, he wrote. Alex Wilhelm in The Interchange.
“The idea that software multiples aren’t on the cusp of a Lazarus redemption arc is a bleak one for unicorns, many of which were reset last year and had expensive prices they have to meet. The possibility of multiples of software compressing even more is absolutely terrifying for this cohort.”
Growing as a company for SaaS startups: 7 lessons on how to do it right
“Many founders make the mistake of thinking that hiring a bunch of high-paying account executives (a fancy name for salespeople) is the same as ‘getting into a venture,’” says Bill Binch, operating partner at Battery Ventures.
In an excerpt from his new book, Binch shares scenarios that will help SaaS founders approach the concept of “enterprise readiness,” along with seven success factors he’s gained from working with “sales leaders, marketing managers, and CEOs who have gone through this evolution.”