Monday 26 July 2021 9:30 am

Bezos-backed plant food firm NotCo secures unicorn status

A plant-based food firm backed by Jeff Bezos has nabbed unicorn status after raising $235m (£170m) in a star-studded funding round.

NotCo, which makes plant-based milk, burger patties, meat and ice cream, was valued at $1.5bn following the round, which was led by Tiger Global.

Venture capital firm DFJ Growth Fund also took part in the round, alongside sports stars Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer.

NotCo said it would use the cash injection to expand in Asia and Europe and produce new products for the North American market.

“Many companies have reached NotCo to say ‘can you do a plant-based version of our products’. In that way, we can become the ‘Intel Inside’ of other products,” NotCo chief executive Matias Muchnick told Reuters. 

NotCo, which operates in six countries in the Americas, also plans to invest more on its artificial intelligence technology, Giuseppe, which explores new combinations of plants to replicate animal-based food products.

Demand for plant-based foods has surged in recent years amid shifting diets for health and environment-conscious consumers.

The pandemic has also accelerated this trend as people looked to safe and healthy alternatives to meat.

NotCo is competing with rival plant based food firms such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods in an increasingly crowded market.

Swedish vegan milk startup Oatly, which is backed by talk show star Oprah, secured a valuation of $10bn following its US stock market float earlier this year.