Cell cultured chocolate startup raises $4 million

October 25, 2021 |

In Davis, a lab-grown chocolate startup has raised $4 million to advance its technology, which is aimed at addressing the negative environmental and labor impacts of traditional cocoa production. Agronomics, a listed company focused on cellular agriculture, led the seed round in California Cultured with an investment of $2.2 million. 

California Cultured aims to use cocoa cell cultures to produce valuable cocoa products, such as

cocoa powder, chocolate, cocoa butter and flavanols. Cell-culture technology veterans Alan Perlstein and Harrison Yoon founded the company to address the need for more ethical and environmentally friendly methods of producing these ingredients. Global cocoa supply chains are known to contribute to deforestation and employ forced labor. 

“[California Cultured’s] technology should support stabilizing production of cocoa in

the future, and has the potential to enable future chocolate demand to be met,” says Jim Mellon, Non-executive Director of Agronomics. 

The financing is in the form of a Simple Agreement for Future Equity, which is expected to convert into Preferred Stock of California Cultured at a future equity financing round by California Cultured of at least $4 million. Following the close of the round, Agronomics will have the right to a directorship in California Cultured. Should California Cultured not complete a qualifying financing within 12 months the SAFER will automatically convert into equity.

IndieBio also participated in the financing. 

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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