Bill Gates and Richard Branson backed a food startup which grows meat in labs

Memphis MeatsMemphis MeatsMemphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti (centre) and his team.

Some of the world’s richest people think that one day you’ll be eating chicken, duck, and beef that’s been grown in a lab.

Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Twitch cofounder Kyle Vogt, and Kimbal Musk — brother of Elon Musk — are among several high-profile backers of Memphis Meats, a San Francisco startup which develops meat from stem cells

The company has raised a $US17 million (£13.3 million) Series A round led by DFJ.

Food giant Cargill, venture capital firm Atomico, New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures and author Suzy Welsh all joined the round.

The new round brings Memphis Meats’ total funding to $US22 million (£17 million)

The company was founded in 2015 by cardiologist Uma Valeti, stem cell researcher Nicholas Genovese, and tissue engineer Will Clem. Like several other lab-grown meat startups that have popped up over the last three years, Memphis Meats is trying to reduce the world’s reliance on meat, since it’s so environmentally unsustainable.

It faces, competition from startups like Hampton Creek, plant-based meat firm Impossible Foods, and Mosa Meat.

Memphis Meats hopes to have a viable lab-grown meat product available to consumers within the next five to six years, said Carolina Brochado, venture partner at Atomico. The company unveiled the first lab-grown chicken earlier this year.

“They are the ones closest to producing a different kind of meat — red meat, duck, chicken,” she told Business Insider. “Adding things like texture is very hard to do technically. And replicating how meat tastes is important.”

Given most people would still balk at eating lab-grown meat regularly, she added Memphis Meats was considering pop-up shops around the time of their next venture round to get people trying the product.

Valeti said in a statement:”The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions. Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world. We want the world to keep eating what it loves.

“However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”

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