Cargill, Bill Gates and Richard Branson are among investors recently backing “clean meat” company Memphis Meats in a $17 million Series A fundraising round. Founded by three scientists, Memphis Meats has produced beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without the need to breed or slaughter animals. The company plans to use the funds to scale up production while reducing costs. The funding was led by DFJ, a venture capital firm that has invested in Tesla, SpaceX and Skype.

Uma Valeti, Memphis Meats
Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and c.e.o. of Memphis Meats

“We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way,” said Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Memphis Meats. “The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions. Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world. We want the world to keep eating what it loves. However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”

To date, Memphis Meats has raised $22 million. With the investment, the company expects to quadruple its headcount and already has begun expanding its team of chefs, scientists and business leaders.

Sonya McCullum, Cargill
Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures for Cargill Protein

Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures, Cargill Protein, said Cargill is committed to growing its traditional protein business while investing in innovative new protein options to provide “a complete basket of goods to our customers.”

“Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market,” she said. “Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”