Investment

Investment of the Week: Family offices and sports stars back food unicorn from an unlikely location

Efforts to develop alternative ways to produce meat, dairy, poultry, and fish are one of the most exciting areas of the venture world right now and family offices are often the main investors backing the startups in the sector as this latest investment underlines. 

The investment offices of two of the world’s richest individuals along with sports stars and a famous musician have all stepped up to provide $235 million in backing for NotCo, a plant-based meat and dairy substitute producer. 

Little known until Jeff Bezos through his investment office Bezos Expeditions backed the group in 2019, this latest round now values the Santiago, Chile-based group at around $1.5 billion. Investors are now moving in to take advantage of the hype before NotCo lists, expected in the next few years. 

Bezos Expeditions has again backed NotCo in this Series D round, but stepping in for the first time in the latest round were Ben Walton’s Zoma Capital, tennis legend Roger Federer, Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, and musician Ahmir Khalib Thompson, better known as Questlove. 

L Catterton, the Bernad Arnault-backed investment group, joined Bezos Expeditions in the 2019 investment and is also part of this latest round, which was led by Chase Coleman’s hedge fund/investment group Tiger Global Management. 

Humboldt Capital, an investment group owned by Canadian oil entrepreneur Robert Lamond, backed NotCo in an earlier round. Backing in the past has also come from London-based The Craftory, owned by Ernesto Schmitt and Elio Scet. 

New York City-based restaurant entrepreneur Danny Meyer, through his fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments, made a previously undisclosed investment in NotCo last June.

Alternative food groups at the forefront of plant and cell-based meat, poultry, fish, and dairy substitutes remain popular after the spectacular listing of Beyond Meat on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019. Beyond Meat along with Impossible Foods, which is likely to list soon, and Upside Foods (previously known as Memphis Meats), attracted a lot of investment from family offices and similar investment groups at an early stage. 

A plethora of other startups in the sector continues to fuel investor interest. Indeed, one family office, Jeremy Coller’s CPT Capital, has exclusively followed an alternative food investment strategy since it was founded in 2017.  

 

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