US philanthropist Bill Gates (R) and British entrepreneur Richard Branson (L) take part in the ‘Leadership in Science & Innovation – Good for Britain, Good for the World,’ Keynote Conversation at the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in 2016 in central London on October 26, 2016. (Photo Credit: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)
Bill Gates and Richard Branson know at least two things well: how to disrupt an industry and how to make money.
That’s why it’s worth noting that both billionaires invested in a new kind of start-up that seeks to revolutionize the future of food.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Company: Memphis Meats
Gates and Branson joined a cadre of investors in a $17 million Series A funding round for Memphis Meats, the San Francisco-based "clean" meat company that has already produced beef, chicken and duck directly from stem cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals.
Earlier this year, Memphis Meats introduced the first clean poultry, which followed last year’s announcement of the first clean meatball.
Memphis Meats has now raised $22 million.
The company plans to use the funds to expand headcount, scale production and lower its production costs at, or below, conventional meat costs.
Why Gates And Branson Invested In A Clean Meat Company
As socially-conscious investors, Gates and Branson likely saw a disruptive opportunity in Memphis Meats, which could not only capture share in the near trillion dollar global market for meat, but also create a new product that, according to Memphis Meats, arguably could be better for the environment, animals and public health.
Consider it an opportunity to make money and do good at the same time, wrapped together in a technologically-disruptive way.
"Im thrilled to have invested in Memphis Meats, Branson said in an email in response to questions from Bloomberg News. I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.
Alternative Food Production: A Growing Trend
Memphis Meats is seeking to meet consumer demand for meat that is organic, more sustainable, and less reliant on "feed, water and land."
Memphis Meats says it can produce its products with only 1% of the land and 1% of the water compared to traditional meat producers.