Alternative protein startups have attracted a lot of investor attention over the past couple of years and the trend looks set to continue. The latest startup with funding news is Next Gen Foods, the creator of plant-based chicken alternative TiNDLE. The company today announced that it has raised a $100 million Series A which will be used to rapidly expand in the United States and at its Singapore research and development center, which is currently under construction.
According to Next Gen Foods, this is the largest Series A ever by a plant-based meat company, based on data from Pitchbook. TechCrunch first covered Next Gen Foods when it raised a $10 million seed round in February 2021, then a $20 million extension five months later.
The company’s Series A, which brings its total funding so far to $130 million, includes new Alpha investors JWC, EDBI and MPL Ventures, as well as returning investors like Temasek (via its Asia Sustainable Food platform in wholly owned), GGV Capital, K3 Ventures and Bits X Bites. The new capital will be used to power distribution of TiNDLE in all 50 states.
Like other alternative protein brands, including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Next Gen Foods is building brand recognition through partnerships with chefs who create and serve dishes in their restaurants, before moving to other channels. distribution such as grocery stores. It’s currently available at restaurants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Napa, New York and Philadelphia, with more planned, including Miami and Austin.
Starting today, US distributors can also order TiNDLE through DOT Foods, one of the largest food redistributors in the United States. It is also available through FoodServiceDirect.com and Cheetah for restaurants located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Co-founder and CEO Andre Menezes said TiNDLE, made with a proprietary blend of plant-based ingredients, like sunflower oil, has already proven its ability to work in a variety of kitchens with launches at Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur. , Dubai and Amsterdam.
Next Gen Foods’ rapid international expansion has been made possible by its asset-light model, Menezes said. Instead of building its own production facilities, Next Gen Foods will work with production partners in each of its markets, including the United States, in a relationship Menezes likens to Apple and Foxconn.
“If we were building our own factory and doing everything ourselves, we would probably still be building it right now and hiring the talent to start our first expansion, and we would probably have invested all the capital the shareholders have. invested in us in building this facility. ,” he said. “For us, that’s not fast enough or scalable enough for our business model and we think there are people in the world who can do that extremely well.”
Next Gen Foods develops components, ingredients, and recipes, then contracts manufacturing with partners, sharing quality assurance procedures to ensure everyone uses the same processes to maintain consistency.
TiNDLE is the first brand of Next Gen Foods and it plans to increase the list of products, including different categories of TiNDLE (like nuggets or pre-prepared tenders). Menezes said he eventually plans to introduce alternatives to other animal proteins in addition to chicken, but that is unlikely to happen in the next two years as his priority is to first expand the presence of TiNDLE in the United States and other major markets, such as Brazil or China.
The Next Gen Foods R&D Center is developed in partnership with the Food Tech Innovation Center, which was established by Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform. The company plans to hire protein scientists and food technologists in Singapore (which has become a major hub for the development and production of alternative meats), Europe and the United States.
In a prepared statement, GGV Capital Managing Partner Jenny Lee said, “The growth of Next Gen Foods in less than a year has been remarkable, as has their continued commitment to being part of the solution to learn how Global food production will play an important role in dealing with the impact of climate change. We look forward to their next phase of expansion in the United States and beyond.