Change Foods Closes Record-Breaking Seed Round; Signs Two Industry Collaboration Agreements to Fuel Innovation
Change Foods announced a $12M Seed Extension round, bringing the total Seed investment to over $15.3M, a new record among precision fermentation companies. The over-subscribed round was led by Route 66 Ventures and included Upfield, Orkla, Green Generation Fund, Blue Horizon, Google icon Jeff Dean, Plug and Play Ventures, Clear Current Capital, Better Bite Ventures, Sigma and English soccer star Chris Smalling.
Additionally, the company signed two strategic collaboration agreements, the first with Upfield, the world’s largest plant-based foods producer and global leader in plant-based butters, spreads, creams and cheeses, and owner of leading global brand Violife; and second with Sigma, a global food company with over $6.7 billion in annual revenues operating across the US, Latin America and Europe, with leading positions in cheese, yogurt, and other categories. The collaboration agreements will accelerate Change Foods’ product development, as well as open the door to rapidly scale cheese production and distribution capability.
“Our mission is to transform the global cheese business with new products that deliver the indulgent taste and eating experience of traditional animal-derived products, but without the detrimental impacts of industrialized animal agriculture,” said David Bucca, Founder and CEO of Change Foods. “Our flagship funding round and collaboration agreements demonstrate confidence in our ability to usher in revolutionary animal-free cheese products. Industry partnerships are a critical part of our business model as we look to leverage the scale and expertise of leading industry players to rapidly expand production and go-to-market.”
Founded in 2020, Change Foods is pioneering the development of a new category in the global cheese industry with a unique precision fermentation technology. The company creates dairy proteins – caseins, the fundamental building block of all dairy cheeses, without the cow, which serve as key ingredients for its animal-free cheese. “Precision fermentation has been used to produce non-animal rennet since the 1990’s, which is used in over 90% of cheeses made worldwide today. We are simply extending this technology to replace milk proteins and fats, and remove the cow from the cheese entirely. That matters because out of all food products, cheese is third in greenhouse gas emissions behind beef and lamb, and first in fresh-water utilization per pound” reports Bucca.
The funding round was led by Route 66 Ventures, a fund focused on supporting emerging technology companies driving positive change. “Change Foods is creating the future of food. The team’s technological know-how and unique approach to precision fermentation provides the ability to revolutionize how we think about food and dairy without compromising on everything we like about traditional food products,” said Benjamin Britt, Managing Partner at Route 66 Ventures. “We could not be more excited to support this next chapter in Change Foods’ story.”
“As the global leader in plant-based foods, focused on bringing new offerings to our consumers, this partnership demonstrates our commitment to investing in cutting edge technology and innovation.” said John Verbakel, Chief Research and Development Officer of Upfield. “Working alongside Change Foods, we will have the ability to drive and develop the next generation of delicious animal-free cheeses suitable for all consumers regardless of their diet. We are committed to ‘A Better Plant-Based Future’ and believe that the work that Change is doing and this partnership will accelerate the development of cow-free cheese that will support more and more people to make sustainable, healthy food choices.”
The collaboration with Sigma, a major global player in the food industry, will help Change Foods advance their dairy protein science, while following time-honored traditions of cheesemaking perfected by its R&D team. “Sigma brings a blend of art and science to the table that has allowed us to master consumer knowledge and create high-quality foods with local flavors. We are enthusiastic about collaborating with Change Foods to develop animal-free dairy products with sustainability benefits.” said Gregorio De Haene, Chief Technology Officer of Sigma.
Change Foods is targeting late 2023 for its initial market launch.