SAN LEANDRO, CALIF. — New Culture, a company producing animal-free casein and animal-free mozzarella, raised $25 million in a Series A funding round led by Ahren Innovation Capital and CPT Capital, with participation from new investors ADM Ventures, Be8 Ventures, S2G Ventures and Future Ventures.
Existing investors Bee Partners, Mayfield, SOSV’s IndieBio, Alumni Ventures Group and Bluestein Ventures also participated in the round, along with Evolv Ventures, the Kraft Heinz Co.’s corporate venture arm.
While many animal-free brands rely on starches, soy and nuts, New Culture combines traditional cheesemaking, fermentation and food science to develop sustainable alternatives to conventional cheese products. It adds plant-based fats and sugars to the cheesemaking process to create dairy cheese that “stretches and bubbles like classic cheese,” said Matt Gibson and Inja Radman, co-founders of the San Leandro, Calif.-based startup.
Set to debut in the foodservice channel in 2022, New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella offers a versatile melting point, applicable in both 850° F professional pizza ovens and 500° F home ovens. Most plant-based cheese counterparts top out in 500° F ovens, according to the company.
New Culture plans to use funds from its $25 million Series A round to transition into a commercial entity by making key hires and scaling up its production capacity.
“What New Culture has accomplished in a short period of time through their several pizza tastings reinforces their market-leading position in developing animal-free casein,” said Steve Sanger, general partner at Evolv Ventures and New Culture board member. “Their focus on using that casein to produce animal-free cheese will allow consumers to enjoy everything they love about cheese (taste, melt, stretch, browning) without having to compromise, all while helping to make the world more sustainable.”