Zurich, 1 March 2022 – Blue Horizon, a pure play impact investor in the future of food, today announces its first investment in plant cell culture.
Blue Horizon has invested in California Cultured, a Davis California-based plant cell culture company pioneering a promising new application for cellular agriculture. Similar to cultivated meat, plant cell culture allows producers to grow complete, authentic cells in bioreactors rather than in fields or feedlots. In this case, cells are isolated from living plants and proliferate in a liquid nutrient media.
Some plants are well-suited for plant cell culture because they contain highly valuable components and phytonutrients that are otherwise hard to grow and extract or pose negative impacts from conventional production. The chocolate industries relies on a cocoa supply chain that is fragile, causes severe deforestation in biodiverse tropical areas, and is implicated in human rights issues.
California Cultured’s mission is to bring about a new age of real chocolate through cellular agriculture free from deforestation and labour abuse by growing, creating and scaling the most authentically delicious and nourishing chocolate on earth without the need for genetic modification.
Blue Horizon is participating in California Cultured’s seed round alongside other strategic investors including chocolate company Meiji, Agronomics, SOSV, Cult Food Science and Prithvi Ventures.
Blue Horizon’s other investments in the sustainable chocolate industry includes Yes Life Foods, Love Raw and Hail Merry.
Thomas Kindler, Partner at Blue Horizon, said: “We are inspired by what people can achieve alongside the Plant Kingdom, in this case finding radically better ways to grow certain plants. Plant cell culture is another exciting technology now being applied from biopharma to food. Cellular agriculture is a big impact opportunity because with it we can also decouple some crops from most deforestation, water use, land use, soil degradation, and supply chain volatility. We expect that California Cultured will continue its leadership role in this sector because of their team of seasoned entrepreneurs and technical experts, research breakthroughs, and strategic partnerships. Blue Horizon is happy to continue investing in pioneers working on securing sustainable chocolate for the future.”
To date, Blue Horizon has raised funds of over $850 million and invested in 60+ companies with a focus on protein alternatives and food tech. Some of the firm’s recent investments include TomorrowFoods, a plant protein processing innovator, Planted, an alternative meat start-up, Mosa Meat, which is developing tissue engineering technologies to mass produce affordable, cultured meat and AgBiome, the leader in developing innovative products from the Earth’s microbial communities.