Memphis Meats, a maker of "clean" (i.e., cultured) meat, will make its global debut on February 4 in San Francisco. The founders will present to investors at the biotech accelerator IndieBio, which was created by venture capital firm SOS Ventures.
As shown in this video, Memphis Meats is already growing real meat in small quantities using cells from cows, pigs, and chickens. The company’s first products—hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and meatballs—will be developed using recipes perfected over a half century by award-winning chefs. The founders expect to have products to market within five years.
“This is absolutely the future of meat,” said Memphis Meats CEO, Uma Valeti, M.D. “We plan to do to animal agriculture what the car did to the horse and buggy. Cultured meat will completely replace the status quo and make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable.”
Valeti, a cardiologist who trained at the Mayo Clinic, is associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota and president of the Twin Cities American Heart Association. Valeti founded Memphis Meats with Nicholas Genovese, Ph.D., a stem cell biologist, and Will Clem, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer who owns a chain of barbecue restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee. The mouthwatering reputation of Memphis barbecue inspired the company’s name.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who provided $330,000 to fund the world’s first clean hamburger, describes clean meat as a technology with “the capability to transform how we view our world.”
Explains Bruce Friedrich, executive director of The Good Food Institute, “Clean meat is sustainable, creates far fewer greenhouse gases than conventional meat, is safer, and doesn’t harm animals. For people who want to eat meat, clean meat is the future.”
While generating one calorie from beef requires 23 calories in feed, Memphis Meats plans to produce a calorie of meat from just three calories in inputs. The company’s products will be free of antibiotics, fecal matter, pathogens, and other contaminants found in conventional meat.
In addition to its initial accelerator funding from SOS Ventures, Memphis Meats is closing in on a $2 million seed round of venture capital funds.