Data Snapshot: Alt-protein, functional foods raise record $1.4bn in H1 2021

September 30, 2021

Data Snapshot is a regular AFN feature in which we analyze agrifoodtech market investment data provided by our parent company, AgFunder.


Startups developing innovative food and ingredients, including alt-proteins, raised a total of $1.4 billion in the first half of this year, according to AgFunder data – representing a 25% increase on H2 2020’s funding total.

Median round size was also substantially higher, indicating investors’ growing interest in the segment – as well as the advancing maturity of startups in the space.

Total funding Average round size Median round size Deal count
H1 2020 $1.2B $14M $2M 136
H2 2020 $1.1B $12M $2M 149
H1 2021 $1.4B $12M $3.4M 164

What is Innovative Food?

‘Innovative Food’ is AgFunder’s own-defined category which includes cell-cultured meat, plant-based analogs, fermented and fungi-based proteins, functional foods, and other novel ingredients.

Top-funded startups

The biggest Innovative Food funding deal in H1 2021 was the $226 million Series B round closed by plant-based ingredient ‘biofacturing’ platform Motif FoodWorks. This was followed by Eat Just‘s cellular meat subsidiary GOOD Meat‘s $170 million raise in May. Other notable rounds included cell-cultured seafood startup BlueNalu‘s $60 million from Rich’s and Thai Union, among others; and plant-based ‘chicken nuggs’ maker Simulate‘s $50 million funding from McCain, Alexis Ohanian, and Jay-Z [disclosure: AgFunder is also an investor in Simulate.]

Here are the top 10:

Innovative Food funding H1 2021
Image credit: AFN

Predictions for H2

Remember, this data only covers the period up until the end of June – after which we saw a number of mega-deals in the Innovative Food category. GOOD Meat‘s $97 million extension round, Aleph Farms$105 million Series B raise, V2food‘s $53.3 million Series B-plus tranche, and Perfect Day‘s $350 million Series D round — reported just today — along with a whole bunch of others didn’t make the cut. That means you can expect a bumper H2 2021 in terms of Innovative Food funding – showing the sector really has reached the big time.

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