SAN FRANCISCO- New Culture, the San Francisco startup making animal-free dairy cheese, has today announced the closing of $3.5 million in seed round funding.
The startup, which was founded in late 2018, uses fermentation instead of animals to make dairy proteins. With the addition of plant-based fats, sugars and the traditional cheesemaking process, New Culture is making dairy cheese that is sustainable, healthy, ethical and indistinguishable from animal-based dairy cheese in taste, texture and function.
Coming out of the successful biotech accelerator program IndieBio, which other innovative food startups such as Memphis Meats, Clara Foods and New Age Meats have graduated from, New Culture was quick to raise a highly sought after seed round.
The round was led by Evolv Ventures, the $100 million venture fund backed by Kraft Heinz investing in emerging tech companies transforming the food industry. Other investors in the round include Bee Partners, Mayfield, CPT Capital, Boost VC and SOSV who followed on after its initial pre-seed investment through IndieBio.
Matt Gibson, CEO and co-founder of New Culture announced, “It’s fantastic to have the support of our investors as we look to grow the company and scale New Culture’s unique fermentation technology. We want to disrupt one of the oldest and largest food industries in the world by producing a better dairy cheese for anyone to enjoy – whether you’re a cheese lover, lactose-intolerant, vegan, environmentally conscious or health-conscious. The capital, knowledge and network our investors bring to New Culture enables us to begin doing that.”
Steve Sanger, a General Partner at Evolv Ventures explains, “We’re excited to lead the seed round for New Culture. We have been impressed by what the team accomplished during IndieBio in a short period of time and look forward to supporting their vision to produce animal-free dairy cheese. This is another example of our focus on investing in the leading companies across the food value chain.”
Gibson and co-founder Inja Radman, New Culture’s CSO, started New Culture to address two key problems, the unsustainability of current dairy cheese production and the lack of companies working on a viable alternative cheese product.
Radman says, “Fully plant-based cheese doesn’t work, and we know why. It lacks the crucial component which gives dairy cheese its signature properties, and that is the casein micelle, a supramolecular structure of dairy proteins that are found only in mammalian milk. We are developing the technology to make those casein micelles without involving animals in the process.”
New Culture will remain in the San Francisco Bay Area as it looks to set up an R&D and fermentation facility while also growing its team.
“We’re really excited about what the next 18 – 24 months holds for New Culture,” Gibson says. “We are experiencing one of the most significant and important food movements of our time. We are fortunate to be in a position to join other fantastic companies in building a more efficient and sustainable global food industry.”