JERUSALEM – Israeli-based cultured meat startup Future Meat Technologies announced a $14 million Series A funding round. Along with expanded R&D efforts, the funding will be used to build the world’s first cultured meat manufacturing facility.

The company plans to begin operations at the Tel Aviv facility in 2020. Products could be commercial-ready as early as 2021.

“With this investment, we’re thrilled to bring cultured meat from the lab to the factory floor and begin working with our industrial partners to bring our product to market,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies. “We’re not only developing a global network of investors and advisers with expertise across the meat and ingredient supply chains, but also providing the company with sufficient runway to achieve commercially viable production costs within the next two years.”

Future Meat was founded last year with the goal of creating cost-efficient, GMO-free meat directly from animal cells. Its technology uses the rapid growth of connective tissue cells, called fibroblasts, to reach high densities before turning the cells to cultured muscles and healthy fats. The company said it is on track to introduce hybrid products that combine the texture of plant-based protein and the aroma and flavor of cultured fats within two years, followed by 100 percent cultured meat products by 2022.

While interest in lab-grown meat has been growing, only one startup, Memphis Meats, has raised more money in series A funding, led by Bill Gates and Cargill. S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based food and agriculture fund, and Emerald Technology Ventures, a Swiss-based fund, led Future Meat’s $14 million round.

In May, Israeli-based Aleph Farms received a $12 million Series A investment from several companies, including Cargill Protein and Strauss Group. 

“Future Meat Technologies’ innovative approach offers a differentiated and exciting path forward in the development of cultured meat,” said Matthew Walker, managing director at S2G Ventures. “The Future Meat team has developed a technology platform and roadmap that offers the cleanest and most efficient means of cell-based meat production, both in terms of capital expenditure and cost per pound, that we’ve seen to date.”