Gingko Bioworks uses $90M funding round to launch ingredients firm Motif
Feb. 27, 2019
Startup Gingko Bioworks announced the launch of its Motif Ingredients company with a $90 million funding round. Investors included Breakthrough Energy Ventures — which has Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson on its board — Louis Dreyfus Company, Fonterra and Viking Global Investors.
The biotech firm said the new company will use Ginkgo’s biological engineering platform to recreate proteins from dairy, egg and meat to use in plant-based alternatives. Motif CEO Jonathan McIntyre said in a release that consumers wrongly believe plant-based foods will be more expensive and won’t taste or function like animal-based foods. “Motif will be key to propelling the next food revolution with affordable, sustainable and accessible ingredients that meet the standards of chefs, food developers, and visionary brands,” McIntyre said. How to overcome go-to-market challenges companies with shareable, real-time insights that are fast and easy to access can mitigate losses and improve strategic planning, ultimately increasing their speed to market.
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Ginkgo Bioworks is launching Motif Ingredients to try and locate the next big thing in protein alternatives. Consumer demand for meat substitutes and plant-based beverages jumped 17% last year, the company noted, so this could be the optimal time for a company like this. According to CNBC, Ginkgo CEO Jason Kelly started strategizing on a new ingredients company in 2017 because of the success of Impossible Foods and its plant-based Impossible Burger that “bleeds.” Bill Gates has also invested in Impossible Foods, according to Crunchbase, and he seems to have an ongoing interest in funding and developing more sustainable protein products. No doubt it will help to have such heavy hitters backing the new company.
There are plenty of plant-based competitors out there besides Impossible Burger. Beyond Foods is staking its future on the plant-based Beyond Burger, as well as plant-based sausages and chicken. Gates has financially backed Beyond Meat as well, which has posted net losses in previous years and filed for an estimated $100 million IPO last fall. Other plant-based burgers already in the market, or coming soon, include the Lightlife Burger from Lightlife Foods and Nestlé’s Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger…