Udderlessly Amazing – Perfect Day raises $350M, prepares for IPO, launches cheese category

October 3, 2021 |

From sunny California came news that Perfect Day, Inc., best known as the creator of the world’s first animal-free milk protein, announced a $350 million Series D funding round intended to fuel the company’s expanded focus across biological engineering, ingredient innovation, and consumer products. The round brings Perfect Day’s total funding up to $750 million – an impressive number indeed and a nice setup for an upcoming IPO.

Oh, and by the way, it’s launching a new cheese category, which we all know is a huge market given our love of cheese around the world.

In today’s Digest, the background, the funding, people power changes, what this means for alternative proteins, and more.

The background

We’ve covered Perfect Day in the past and highlighted its Slide Guide The Power of Protein: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Perfect Day. The Digest even covered its early beginnings as Muufri back in 2015 here.

But how did they get started? Founded in 2014 by bioengineers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, Perfect Day created the world’s first precision-fermented protein, debuted in 2020. Instead of relying on cows, Perfect Day utilizes microflora to create proprietary animal-free milk protein. Perfect Day’s protein can be used across a range of products to deliver the same taste and texture without compromise. An ISO compliant, third-party reviewed life cycle assessment (LCA) found that Perfect Day’s whey protein reduces blue water consumption by up to 99%, greenhouse gas emissions by up to 97%, and non-renewable energy use by up to 60%, compared to conventional production methods.

“When we first started this almost eight years ago, we had the simple goal of creating a way to make dairy without animals,” explained Ryan Pandya, co-founder and CEO. “We quickly realized that we could maximize our positive impact for the planet and the global food system by applying our technology and know-how across the supply chain.”

This mindset led, in 2016, to the company’s expansion into B2B supply chain innovation, selling protein to food companies; and in 2019, to the founders’ foray into consumer products through The Urgent Company (TUC), now a full-fledged part of the Perfect Day umbrella.

In mid-2020, Perfect Day added SBF, Inc., a bioprocess scale-up facility located in Logan, Utah, to the corporate portfolio. Now, in addition to ingredient innovation and consumer products, the company intends to expand its offerings into “enterprise biology,” providing technology development services for companies looking to harness the sustainability and scale that Perfect Day has proven it can deliver.

“We first got into the ingredient business because food companies, big and small, were eager to work with the ingredients we had successfully scaled,” said Perumal Gandhi, Perfect Day co-founder. “Today, something analogous is happening on the technology side. There are innovators all over the world with ideas and ambitions similar to our animal-free milk protein, but need help getting there. We’re standing up business models to be able to share our demonstrated capabilities in a way that maximizes upsides for all, yet ensures that Perfect Day remains at the forefront of our new industry.”

“I’ve been so impressed by what Perfect Day has done in such a short time,” said Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, The Walt Disney Company. “I look forward to continuing to be part of their journey.”

The $$$

The round, co-led by Temasek and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), included strong participation from long-term investors such as Horizons Ventures and Bob Iger, as well as SK, Inc. who deepened their role with Perfect Day in this funding series. And as we mentioned, the round brings Perfect Day’s total funding up to an impressive $750 million.

SBF, Perfect Day’s “enterprise biology” business, is already profitable with a strong roster of customers. TUC’s first brand, Brave Robot, is the leading growth driver for plant-based ice cream, available in over 5,000 grocery stores, including Kroger, Sprouts, and Stop & Shop, across the United States. Building upon this success, Perfect Day is further investing in TUC with the launch of its next brand, Modern Kitchen. Soon to offer a range of household dairy staples, Modern Kitchen will debut animal-free cream cheese to select stores in the months ahead and is now available for preorder at eatmodern.kitchen.

People Power

In anticipation of the more involved corporate operations required to successfully operate and grow these three businesses – and with an eye toward eventual strong public market performance – Perfect Day has bolstered its executive team over the past quarter:

  • TM Narayan, Chief of Business Operations, joins from HCL Technologies (NSE: HCLTECH)
  • Allison Fowler, Chief Marketing Officer, joins from Perfect Snacks
  • Alex Brittain, Senior Vice President, International, joins from PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP)
  • Chuck Thorn, Vice President, Finance, joins from Cargill

“We’re a part of a new generation of leaders coming of age, armed with the world’s best science, systemic thinking, and compassion,” said Pandya. “We’ve seen it in lifesaving vaccines, and we’re about to see it in food. We’re proud of all our leaders – every single employee at Perfect Day, our partners and investors – and can’t wait for this next chapter.”

Bottom Line

Milk without the cow is just going to grow, just like other alternative proteins like Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat and others. In fact, just a few days ago, Good Food Institute announced they are awarding $5 million to boost research into alternative proteins. GFI’s Competitive Research Grant program provides catalytic seed funding to accelerate alternative protein R&D and unlock the climate benefits on offer. But serious public investment is critical to achieving a net-zero, climate-resilient world so GFI is filling the funding gap with their Competitive Research Grant program.

Thanks to a small number of generous donors, they do this by funding open-access research that they see as urgent and essential to exist in the public domain. This year through their third annual Competitive Research Grant RFP, they awarded nearly $5 million in total funding to 22 research projects that will get us closer to the holy grail of alt proteins. Thirteen of these projects are focused on cultivated meat, two are focused on fermentation, and seven are focused on plant-based meat. These projects will take place in eight different countries across four continents.

So expect more meat and milk without the cow news in 2021, as the consumer demand is there and now the funding and money is also there.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Top Stories

Thank you for visting the Digest.