Ljubljana-based Juicy Marbles has raised $4.5 million in a seed funding round. The foodtech startup has developed a method of creating a thick, juicy, and marbled (see where the name comes from?) plant-based whole cut meat alternative. The funding will be used to herd the company’s plant-based filet mignon product to market.
What’s a ‘whole cut’ you might ask? Well, I did the same and discovered that the vast majority of plant-based meat alternatives are ground "meat", i.e. sausages and mince. Where the Juicy Marbles team has lost its marbles is in the fact that their proprietary method is so authentic, they’ve gone and created a plant-based filet mignon, often considered the prized cut from the butcher's block.
While I’ll fully admit, over the course of my forty-something-something years revolving around the sun, I’m confident in stating a fact: I know how to cook a steak. And I know how to enjoy one too. However, when faced with the other fact(s) that animal agriculture consumes 83% of all agricultural land on earth, despite the fact that it supplies only 18% of the food supply. For extra good measure, let’s toss in the fact that beef production uses nearly 60% of this agricultural land, but adds up to less than 2% of calories consumed worldwide.
With its whole cut offering, Juicy Marbles believes it can convert omnivores like me and chop meat consumption in half by as soon as 2030. Suffice to say, it might be time for this old dog to learn a few new tricks.
“What was important to us is that the process does not damage the nutritional profile of the product, ensuring customers get a wholesome, nutritious piece of meat with all the proteins, vitamins, and minerals intact,” commented co-founder and CTO (is that Chief Tenderising Officer?) Maj Hrovat. “We’re delighted we’ve been able to achieve this with our filet mignon and can’t wait to enable people across the world to enjoy this delicious plant-based steak.”
Truly putting their money where their mouth is, Juicy Marbles is the first investment made by the newly formed World Fund. As a reminder, a prerequisite to receiving a World Fund investment is that each portfolio company will need to demonstrate that it has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100 megatonnes of CO2 per year. Agfunder and angel investors from YCombinator and Fitbit also participated in the round.
“There has been a seismic shift in recent years towards plant-based alternatives, driven by a generation who want to make a real difference to the planet and their health. However, so often they’re met with poor substitutes, or they resist going fully plant-based because they’re not ready to give up on little luxuries, like whole cut meats. The team at Juicy Marbles acutely understands this,” commented World Fund’s Danijel Visevic. “Their realistic and considered approach, combined with their technology – and appetites! – has seen them finally crack a major piece of the plant-based puzzle. We’re excited to join them and witness just how much of an impact they’re due to make in the months and years to come.”