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Saudi prince joins round for US-based alt protein startup

Food Presentation, Food, Burger Rebellyous Foods
Rebellyous Foods specialises in plant-based chicken substitute
  • Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed’s KBW Ventures invests in food startups
  • US-based Rebellyous Foods focuses on plant-based chicken substitute
  • KBW plans more investment in the alternative meat space

KBW Ventures, the venture capital firm founded by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, has completed a second round of investment in Seattle-based food manufacturing technology company Rebellyous Foods.

The US company, which makes plant-based chicken substitute and is led by former aerospace engineer Christie Lagally, raised $9.5 million in its latest equity round.

Rebellyous Foods also attracted investment from Clear Current Capital, Fifty Years, Liquid 2 Ventures, CPT Capital and Agronomics.

KBW Ventures previously took part in Rebellyous Foods’ $6 million Series A raise in April 2020.

Prince Khaled said: “The meat market is worth $1.3 trillion. Typically when investors commit to one round, they already have an inkling that there is potential to scale. When the investor goes into a second round, they know there is potential to scale, and they are already seeing evidence of that.

“This is the case with Rebellyous Foods – growth, expansion, development – it all equals potential an investor can really get behind.”

The latest funding will be used “to grow accessibility and availability of plant-based meat through tech-backed solutions”, according to a statement.

Founded in 2017, Rebellyous Foods currently provides products to more than more than 1,000 retail locations and over 100 school districts across the US.

“The leaps forward in science are just as important – if not more important – than the consistent upward trend in their client roster,” said Prince Khaled.

“Seeing sales is a boon, but seeing the technology advance with the implications of changing the entire sector? That’s the real reward and adds significant value.”

The global plant-based meat market is expected to increase from around $5.4 billion in 2021 to almost $13 billion towards the end of 2026, according to a report from Fairfield Market Research.

From that, chicken – on which Rebellyous Foods focuses – is the most lucrative segment, with an estimated CAGR of more than 22 percent across the period.

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed says “this is the time to jump in” to plant-based meat investment. Picture: Supplied

KBW Ventures invests in companies with transformative technologies and business models, and its portfolio of investments includes the Colorado-based pet food firm Bond Pet Foods, Hawaiia-based vegan jerky company Moku Foods, US-based cellular agriculture seafood company BlueNalu and Californian food tech company Upside Foods.

In June last year KBW Ventures was among a clutch of investors that participated in a $40 million fundraising by Eclipse Foods, a US startup known for its plant-based ice creams. And in December it was one of the prime investors in a $12.3 million fundraising round by San Francisco-based food tech startup Black Sheep Foods.

Prince Khaled revealed that KBW Ventures would soon be announcing another investment in the space, adding that the deal should be finalised within the next two months. 

“This is the time to jump in,” he said. “The market has attracted some of the most sophisticated investors in the world and there’s still good deal flow to be had but it won’t stay this way for long.”