NotCo, a Chilean food tech company known to make plant-based milk using its AI technology, called Giuseppe, raised $235 million in its Series D funding round, bringing its total funding to $360 million and a valuation of $1.5 billion.
The funding round was led by Tiger Global and participants such as Jack Dorsey, Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer. Other investors in the company include Bezos Expeditions, EHI, Future Positive and more.
The funding received will help NotCo expand into more markets and scale their AI platform. Currently, their products are available in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and the US, but the company hopes to move into Europe and Asia.
“The level of enthusiasm we’ve received from our partners is thrilling and humbling. We all share the same vision for Giuseppe’s ability to catapult plant-based foods into mainstream adoption at a rapid pace by focusing on taste, sustainability, and infiltrating multiple categories at once. We are grateful to have the support of Tiger Global as we build a food tech brand with the global reach and capability to reinvent the food industry,” said Matias Muchnick, the founder and CEO of NotCo.
“NotCo has created world-class plant-based food products that are rapidly gaining market share,” said Scott Shleifer, partner at Tiger Global, in a press statement. “We are excited to partner with Matias and his team. We expect continued product innovation and expansion into new geographies and food categories will fuel high and sustainable growth for years to come.”
Giuseppe, NotCo’s one-of-a-kind AI technology has allowed the company to replace animal-based products with alternatives in a faster, better and more accurate way than competitors in the field. This is because the algorithm can analyze thousands of plants in its database and find combinations that can replicate animal-based products almost to perfection.
The company currently has five products on the market: NotMilk, NotBurger, NotMeat, NotIceCream and NotMayo. In the US, NotMilk products are available at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Wegmans and more. NotMeat is available in Burger King and Papa John’s locations in Chile where the meat alternative is used as a vegan option.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, consumers eat 574 million metric tons of animal-based protein, including meat, seafood, dairy and eggs, in 2020. That is almost 75 kilograms of protein per person. This has health impacts and environmental impacts that companies are trying to solve by creating all these plant-based products.
The market for alternative foods is predicted to reach $290 billion by 2035. However, a significant driver in this innovation is switching to a plant-based product without compromising taste or texture, which is what NotCo has tried to achieve using their AI technology, Giuseppe.
“Our theory is that there is a crazy dynamic among people: 60 percent who are already eating plant-based are not happy with the taste, and 30 percent of those who drink cow’s milk are waiting to change if there is a similar taste,” said Muchnick to TechCrunch.
“Our technology is based in AI so that we can create a different food system, as well as products faster and better than others in the space. There are 300,000 plant species, and we still have no idea what 99 percent of them can do,” he added.
Muchnick plans to expand to the Mexican and Canadian markets but believes that he will be receiving 50 percent of his business from the US in the next three years.
NotCo will also enter the plant-based chicken and seafood markets once he invests in the technology and R&D to compete in an already saturated and competitive market.