The lead investor is Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures, which also invested in egg substitute startup Hampton Creek.
The CEO and co-founder of Modern Meadow, Andras Forgacs, previously co-founded publicly-traded Organovo, a company that engineers tissue via 3D printing. There are currently ten employees at Modern Meadow.
Forgac’s latest company is able to grow food and leather in its lab using biofabrication, which takes small biopsies from animals leaving them unharmed. The leather Modern Meadow produces doesn’t have any of the normal imperfections found on animal skin, such as bites or scars, which is attractive to fashion designers. It takes 1 — 2 months to create one square foot of leather in Modern Meadow’s lab.
Both leather and meat production are huge problems for the startup to tackle. Modern Meadow says nearly 300 million tons of meat are eaten every year and by 2050, that will increase to 500 million. Additionally, animal farms contribute to climate change via greenhouse gas emission.
Modern Meadow says its solution will mean 99% less land required for the animals, 96% less water used to create the meat, 96% fewer greenhouse gases emitted, 45% less energy needed to produce the meat, and, of course, it will keep animals from being hurt or killed.