Memphis Meats, which is growing meat grown outside a live animal (cultured meat), will make its global debut on Feruary 4 in San Francisco. The founders will present to investors at the biotech accelerator Indie Bio, which was created by venture capital firm SOS Ventures.
Memphis Meats is already growing real meat in small quantities using cells from cows, pigs, and chickens. The company’s first products—hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and meatballs—will be developed using recipes perfected over a half century by award-winning chefs. The founders expect to have products to market in less than five years.
“This is absolutely the future of meat,” says Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti, M.D. “We plan to do to the meat industry what the car did to the horse and buggy. Cultured meat will completely replace the status quo and make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable.”
Valeti, a cardiologist who trained at the Mayo Clinic, is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota and president of the Twin Cities American Heart Association. Valeti founded Memphis Meats with Nicholas Genovese, Ph.D., a stem cell biologist, and Will Clem, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer who owns a chain of barbeque restaurants in Memphis. The mouthwatering reputation of Memphis barbeque inspired the company’s name.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who provided $330,000 to fund the world’s first cultured hamburger, describes cultured meat as a technology with “the capability to transform how we view our world.”
Explains Bruce Friedrich, executive director of The Good Food Institute, “Cultured meat is sustainable, creates far fewer greenhouse gases than conventional meat, is safer, and doesn’t harm animals. For people who want to eat meat, cultured meat is the future.”
While generating one calorie from beef requires 23 calories in feed, Memphis Meats plans to produce a calorie of meat from just 3 calories in inputs. The company’s products will be free of antibiotics, fecal matter, pathogens, and other contaminants found in conventional meat.
In addition to its initial accelerator funding from SOS Ventures, Memphis Meats is closing in on a $2 million seed round of venture capital funds.