The private markets are constantly evolving, and new spaces rise—then sometimes fall—in the span of a few years. Given this fluidity, it can be challenging to identify and track the most promising spaces of tomorrow. That’s why our analysts have developed a methodology to define and categorize these emerging spaces. In this post, we look at clean meat—just one example of a space that is quickly taking off.

What is clean meat?

Clean meat is meat that’s been grown in a cell culture rather than harvested directly from an animal’s body after slaughter. Also called cell-based meat or cultured meat, it has the same characteristics as conventional meat but can be made by growing only the cell types that humans consume—like muscle and fat cells and connective tissue. Clean meat is just one application of the underlying cellular agriculture technology, which takes animal stem cells, scales them and scaffolds them into the appropriate shape, color and texture. 

Clean meat is an important emerging space today because of traditional meat production’s heavy toll on the environment. In 2017, a study found that the top three meat firms—JBS, Cargill and Tyson Foods—emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of France. In the face of climate change, proponents of clean meat see it as a sustainable, sterile way to curb the emissions, as well as the land, water and resource use associated with factory farming—especially as the demand for meat products rise with the likelihood that the global population will hit nine billion by 2050.

Leading company activity

Leading companies

66

Deals

192

Capital invested

$1.77B

Investors

382

Key growth metrics

$983.35M

Capital invested (TTM)
 
224% YoY

$3.46M

Median deal size (TTM)
 
41% YoY

$16.79M

Median post valuation (TTM)
 
▲ 176% YoY
 
REPORT

Journey to a More Sustainable Food System

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Trending clean meat companies

Eat Just

  • HQ: San Francisco, CA
  • Leadership: Joshua Tetrick, co-founder and CEO
  • Latest deal: $170M, later-stage VC (May 2021)
 

Eat Just produces egg products made entirely of plants and animal cells instead of livestock. Their scramble-ready and omelet-able products contain a similar amount of protein as conventional eggs, plus contain no cholesterol and low saturated fat. The company’s website says Eat Just’s production process requires less land and water and creates fewer carbon emissions compared to traditional eggs.

Aleph Farms

  • HQ: Rehovot, Israel
  • Leadership: Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO
  • Latest deal: $105M, Series B (July 2021)
 

Aleph Farms creates its clean meat products with 3D tissue formation technology that combines cells and tissues to produce clean, healthy beef without the need for animal slaughter. The company’s 3D tissue-formation technology combines a sampling of vascular and connective tissues with support, fat, blood vessel and muscle cells to produce beef products.

UPSIDE Foods

  • HQ: San Leandro, CA
  • Leadership: Uma Valeti MD, co-founder and CEO
  • Latest deal: $186.25M, Series B1 (April 2020)

Formerly known as Memphis Meats and with animal welfare in mind, UPSIDE Foods grows real meat directly from cells. The company’s website says UPSIDE Foods debuted the world’s first cell-cultured meatball, chicken and duck and that they’re working on other meat types at present. Their fried chicken and chicken breast products are slated to become available to consumers by the end of 2021. 

Most active clean meat investors

Unovis Asset Management

  • HQ: New York, NY
  • Clean meat investments: 13
  • Last deal date: July 2021
 

Founded in 2015, Unovis Asset Management is a VC firm that specializes in seed to growth-stage investments. The firm prefers to invest in plant-based meats, dairy and egg products, food tech and cellular agriculture sectors. Their recent investments in clean meat include San Francisco’s Nobell Foods and Austin’s Wicked Healthy.

CPT Capital

  • HQ: London, United Kingdom
  • Clean meat investments: 12
  • Last deal date: July 2021


CPT Capital, founded in 2017, is a VC firm that prefers to invest in companies operating in the plant-based proteins, recombinant proteins and cell culture sectors. Their recent investments include Aleph Farms, as well as Singapore’s TurtleTree and Glasgow-based Enough.

SOSV

  • HQ: Princeton, NJ
  • Clean meat investments: 10
  • Last deal date: July 2021
 

SOSV is a multi-stage venture capital investor that runs multiple accelerator programs and provides seed, venture and growth-stage follow-on investments to its companies. SOSV prefers to invest in manufacturing, life sciences, healthtech, internet of things, robotics, fintech, food, AI and other sectors.

What are emerging spaces? 

From carbon capture and removal to clean meat and election tech, PitchBook tracks 110+ nascent but growing areas we call emerging spaces. Rolled out at the beginning of 2020 as part of a feature that helps PitchBook users discover niche spaces and identify burgeoning investment trends, we define emerging spaces using a set of criteria developed by our analyst team. Awareness for and interest in the emerging spaces we track in our platform appear promising, but these spaces aren’t yet established to be considered time-tested industry verticals—at least not yet.

Get to know some of PitchBook’s other emerging spaces


This article was created based on PitchBook’s Emerging Spaces feature. To check it out for yourself, log in or request a free trial.

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