Investment #16: CellCo

UPDATE: CellCo has now rebranded to Opo Bio.

The future of food – CellCo raises seed capital to make cultivated meat a reality.

Internationally recognised academics in their field, Dr. Olivia Ogilvie, Dr. Laura Domigan, and Dr. Vaughn Feisst from the University of Auckland have raised $1.5M in Seed capital to break into the future of food. Their seed round is led by Matū Karihi Fund, with co-investors Booster Innovation Fund, the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund, and angels.

CellCo is a biotech company that produces a variety of unique ‘ingredients’ for cell-based meat manufacturers. Cell-based, cultivated, cellular agriculture, and lab grown are all terms used interchangeably and represent the production of protein alternatives using the very same cells that make up traditional meat. While these new options aren’t yet available in retail form, it is expected that, alongside plant and fermentation based “alt-proteins,” these will make a significant contribution to meeting the 40% increase in meat demand expected by 2030 while mitigating the environmental harm of farming meat.

The current capital raise will enable CellCo to further build out their team, develop their product and gain early market traction. While the cultivated meat industry is still in its infancy, the pace and potential it shows as a sustainable solution to feed the world makes this an incredibly exciting opportunity. The investors eagerly look forward to supporting CellCo as they endeavour to lead their innovative niche within cellular agriculture.

About Matū Karihi Fund – Matū is a venture capital fund investing in early-stage science and technology commercialisation from education and research institutions and the private sector. As an open and evergreen fund, Matū takes a long-term investment view and is aimed at turning ground-breaking ideas into globally focused, IP-rich companies. Matū provides intelligent capital with active governance, executive management, operational support, and mentorship for founding and executive teams:

About Booster – Booster is one of the six government-appointed default KiwiSaver scheme providers with over 170,000 investors and $5 billion under management across KiwiSaver, Superannuation and Investment Schemes. Booster has a focus on supporting New Zealand businesses through specialist investment funds including the Booster Innovation Fund and the New Zealand Innovation Booster, which help Kiwis share in the success of innovative research and IP development by investing in the commercialisation of early-stage technologies coming out of New Zealand.

About University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund – The University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund is an evergreen, open-ended $20 million investment fund owned and managed by UniServices, the commercialisation and research impact company wholly owned by the University of Auckland. The fund provides pre-seed and seed capital for University of Auckland spin-outs: