“One of the most impactful ways to combat the climate crisis is to transform our food system. Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms offer new ways to satisfy the world’s demand for beef, while solving some of the most pressing issues of current industrial beef production,” DiCaprio was quoted as saying in the statement.
“I’m very pleased to join them as an advisor and investor, as they prepare to introduce cultivated beef to consumers.”
The size of the investments was not disclosed.
Mosa Meat — which was co-founded by ‘lab-grown burger’ pioneer Mark Post — closed out its Series B round in February at $85 million, having raised funds from investors including Blue Horizon Ventures, Merck, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Nutreco.
Focusing on cell-cultured whole cuts, Aleph Farms raised $105 million Series B funding in July from private equity giant L Catterton, UAE sovereign fund ADQ, and agrifood corporates BRF, Cargill, CJ CheilJedang, and Thai Union.
DiCaprio is a recognized activist on ecological issues such as anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity loss, and renewable energy. As an investor, the Hollywood heartthrob has backed recycling tech platform Rubicon, and has made several bets in the agrifood space including sustainable aquaculture startup LoveTheWild and beverage brand Runa, which supports indigenous farmers and reforestation in South America.
Earlier this year DiCaprio joined the advisory board of Perfect Day, which is fermenting the constituent proteins of cow’s milk — including casein and whey — from fungi. The US-based startup supplies these proteins to third-party manufacturers to produce ‘cow-less’ ice creams and other alt-dairy products. Former UNICEF executive director and US Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, joined Perfect Day’s advisory board at the same time.
Mosa Meat’s CEO on choosing non-GMO, differentiation, and pricing the novelty factor – read more here
DiCaprio isn’t the only celebrity investing in the alt-protein space. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, hip hop star Jay-Z, and actor Natalie Portman participated in Oatly’s recent $200 million pre-IPO raise, joining the likes of Blackstone and Rabobank to back the Swedish alt-milk maker.
Winfrey joined in the $250 million round raised by US food waste reduction startup Apeel in May 2020, alongside pop star Katy Perry and Singapore sovereign fund GIC, among others [disclosure: AgFunder, AFN’s parent company, is an investor in Apeel via the latter’s acquisition of ImpactVision].
Jay-Z has invested — through a variety of entities — in a number of other food and agriculture-related startups, including plant-based chicken nuggets maker Simulate [disclosure: AgFunder, AFN‘s parent company, is also an investor in Simulate.] In Indonesia, he has backed Super — a social commerce platform that enables local communities to group-buy from farmers and food suppliers — and tech-enabled coffee chain Kopi Kenangan. The latter has also secured funding from tennis ace Serena Williams and basketball star Caris LeVert.
Jay-Z, Winfrey, Perry, Williams are also investors plant-based meat substitute maker Impossible Foods, alongside myriad other celebs including musicians Common and will.i.am, American footballer Kirk Cousins, basketball player Paul George, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson, and TV stars Mindy Kaling, Trevor Noah, Kal Penn, and Phil Rosenthal.