August 3, 2021
Plant-based alternatives have changed the way we eat. Although animal-based proteins still dominate our diets, consultants expect that by 2035, 11% of all the meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy consumed across the world will be a plant-based alternative. Investors are following this trend, as demonstrated by NotCo’s recent US$235 million series D funding round. The Chilean plant-based food company is now valued at US$1.5 billion.
NotCo has four product lines each developed using AI technology: NotMeat, NotBurger, NotMayo and NotIceCream. To achieve the same taste and texture as animal proteins, NotCo uses its patented AI technology, Giuseppe. This “AI Chef” is essentially an algorithm with the ability to find unlimited combinations of plants that together replicate animal proteins. Giuseppe analyzes an animal product’s molecular structure and develops methods to replicate its texture and flavour using only plant-based proteins. The recipes are then tested by the NotCo team who provides feedback to train the technology’s algorithm. This process uses machine learning to make Giuseppe more intelligent with each iteration, resulting in faster, more accurate, and more effective product development.
Now part of the unicorn club, NotCo plans to expand into new countries and grow its existing market share. The company’s product lines are currently available in five countries: the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Columbia. Some of NotCo’s new funding will be allocated to establish markets in Mexico and Canada, and to grow the existing market share in the United States and Chile. An expansion into Europe and Asia may even be on the horizon. In addition to growing its market share, NotCo will use its recent funding to further invest in technology and develop new plant-based products. The company hopes to add to its five existing food science patents and may look to develop an intelligence side to the business. It also wants to invest in its existing AI technology. As Giuseppe becomes more intelligent, NotCo will be able to add more products such as seafood, chicken, and other white meats to its current plant-based offerings.
NotCo has now raised over US$350 million and is preparing to go public in the next two or three years with the help of its investors. The company’s most recent financing round was led by Tiger Global, who was joined by investors including athletes Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer, musician DJ Questlove, social impact foundation ZOMA Lab, and DFJ Growth Fund.
Author: Jennifer Linde