Singapore-based Next Gen Foods will bring its plant-based chicken alternative to the United States after raising a $20 million seed extension. Investors included GGV Capital, agriculture and meals-tech-focused Bits x Bites, meals and beverage company Yeo Hiap Seng, entrepreneur and “Blitzscaling” author Chris Yeh and English footballer Dele Alli.
Returning investors include Temasek, which led Next Gen Foods’ original $10 million seed round, announced in February, and K3 Ventures. The first $10 million was already the largest seed funding ever raised by a plant-based meals tech company, based on data from PitchBook, and now the round totals $30 million. Part of the funding shall be aged to occupy 50 roles in the U.S. for its research and vogue, sales, offer chain and finance and marketing teams.
Next Gen also announced changes to its leadership team. Co-founder Timo Recker is moving from his chief executive officer area to chairman, whereas Andre Menezes, another founder, will take over the CEO state. Mature Temasek director Rohit Bhattacharya will join the startup as its chief financial officer.
Next Gen’s chicken alternative, called TiNDLE, launched in Asia via partnerships with restaurants and is now served in more than 70 locations in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. Over the next 12 months, Next Gen will take a similar approach as it enters the U.S., working with meals products and companies in cities to accomplish TiNDLE dishes for their menus. Eventually this can expand to other distribution channels, like retail, Menezes told TechCrunch.
To replicate chicken meat’s texture, Next Gen uses a proprietary mix of plant-based fats, including sunflower oils and natural flavors. This allows TiNDLE merchandise to replicate the aroma and browning of chicken when it cooks.
In the U.S., Next Gen faces rivalry from plant-based meals companies like Past Meat, which launched its Chicken Tenders product at about 400 restaurants earlier this week. Panda Categorical, a popular meals chain, is also piloting Past Meat orange chicken.
When asked about the competitive landscape, Menezes said, “We are really glad this sector is gaining traction and we accomplish not glimpse other plant-based companies as our competitors. The greatest competition we fear about are the companies bringing unsatisfactory merchandise to customers. Customers may cessation up having the horrible affect that plant-based foods compromise in taste and abilities even today.”
He added that TiNDLE is GMO and cholesterol-free, and Next Gen has an asset-gentle business model that will make it easier to scale into original markets.
Prior to launching Next Gen, Recker founded German-based LikeMeat, whereas Menezes labored at certainly one of the world’s largest poultry exporters sooner than serving as general manager of Singapore meals distributor Nation Foods.
In a statement, GGV managing partner Jenny Lee said, “The Next Gen team has certainly one of the strongest founder-market fits in meals tech, having beforehand developed and efficiently launched a plant-based meat product for the European market. The team’s focal point on product quality, brand recall and distribution gives a solid foundation for the future grunt of the company.”