We are incredibly excited about this investment in Starfield, our first in China. Through our partners at Dao Foods, we are tracking this sector in China very carefully. We believe there is great potential to accelerate the adoption of plant-based meats throughout the region.
BEIJING (PRWEB) March 12, 2020
New Crop Capital (NCC), an early investor of Beyond Meat and over 30 alternative protein ventures globally, and its China-focused investment partner Dao Foods International, today announced their investment in Starfield Food and Science Technology Limited, a next-generation Chinese food technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, a city of nearly 13 million people and a leading global technology hub bordering Hong Kong.
Starfield is considered the only Chinese next-gen alternative meat venture that has its own R&D and manufacturing capability. Starfield has focused on developing strong relationships with restaurant partners to introduce and showcase their plant-based meat products to Chinese consumers, particularly millennials. It so far has reached product collaboration intents with over 20 local and international restaurants, including restaurant chains Papa Johns with 170 outlets, Nayuki’s Tea with 300 branches, and Element Fresh with 38 restaurants in the country.
Starfield has recently released the first iteration of their ground meat product, which has been used in many different applications such as “Future Meatball Pizza” at Papa Johns, “Lemongrass Satay” at Brut Eatery, “Green Star Burger” at Nayuki’s Tea, “Starfield Fried Rice” at Planet Green. Starfield currently owns one invention patent (a method for extracting glycophilic proteins from seaweed) and has submitted an application for an additional patent protecting other aspects of their base technology. To further improve product development, Starfield has established R&D partnerships with Beijing Technology and Business University, Shenzhen University and Jiangnan University, a few Chinese academic institutions that lead research work and efforts in the alternative meat field.
Matrix Partners China, a leading Chinese venture capital firm, led the angel investment round for Starfield together with NCC and Dao Foods. Matrix has invested in over 600 Chinese startup ventures, including Ele.me, one of China’s largest food delivery services delivering over 16 million orders a day across over 2000 cities in China (link). Joy Capital, another top Chinese venture capital firm that has invested in Nasdaq-listed Chinese coffee shop chain Luckin Coffee, also invested in Starfield in a plus investment round immediately after Matrix China, NCC and Dao Foods.
“Dao Foods has been on the look-out for promising companies and entrepreneurs that both understand the taste buds of millennial consumers, and have the skills to develop and continuously improve products to meet this discerning taste. We have enjoyed working with the team at Starfield over the past year, and are extremely excited about our investment and the next phase of growth for the company,” said Albert Tseng, co-founder of Dao Foods International.
“We are incredibly excited about this investment in Starfield, our first in China. Through our partners at Dao Foods, we are tracking this sector in China very carefully. We believe there is great potential to accelerate the adoption of plant-based meats throughout the region. Each of the investors in this round brings significant strategic value, and we will contribute our international plant-based food expertise to the growth of Starfield,” added Chris Kerr, Chief Investment Officer, New Crop Capital.
According to Cross Chen, co-founder of Starfield, China is a big gourmet country where people consider food divine and also think that food should have therapeutic and health improvement functions. “We believe that plant-based food will be widely adopted in China, thereby further promoting the development of modern plant-based product technology. We are grateful for our encounter with Dao Foods and NCC. They are our valuable partners who have given us great support in the effort to develop China’s plant-based food market,” added Cross.
Based on a recent South China Morning Post article, “China is said to be preparing to restructure meat production and distribution system after latest coronavirus crisis,” which could serve as “a catalyst to producers of plant-based meat substitutes.” In response to the coronavirus situation, Starfield has launched a Food Services Alliance initiative, under which it will collaborate with major food services chains to provide home delivered meals with plant-based meat options. Additionally, to coincide with China’s annual National Tree-planting Day on March 12 where citizens across China plant trees to recognize the importance of protecting the environment, Starfield has launched an initiative which aims to provide 10,000 plant-based meat meals online to mainstream consumers via its food services partners across six metropolitan cities that include Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and also Wuhan, the epicenter of this coronavirus crisis where brick and mortar food services have been put on a complete halt. #
Dao Foods International, Inc. is an impact investment firm that aims to help entrepreneurs develop exciting new plant-based and cultivated meat products in China to reduce the consumer demand for animal agriculture. Dao Foods believes that supporting talented entrepreneurs who are targeting the 400 million millennials in China with new, exciting, and delicious plant-based protein is a huge business opportunity with massive social and environmental impact. If you are a plant-based or clean meat entrepreneur focused on the China market, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since August of 2019, Dao Foods has been hosting Boot Camps across China to catalyze sustainable plant-based protein food entrepreneurship and has also announced the establishment of the China Next Gen Good Food Incubator, to more effectively identify, nurture and support entrepreneurial projects like Starfield in the alternative protein space.
New Crop Capital (NCC) is a U.S.-based specialized venture capital fund that invests in talented, focused entrepreneurs whose products or services replace foods derived from conventional animal agriculture. NCC provides early-stage investments to companies that develop cultured meat and plant-based meat, dairy, and egg products, as well as service companies that facilitate the promotion and sale of such products. NCC has so far invested in over 30 alternative protein ventures across the globe, including Beyond Meat that had a very successful IPO in May, 2019. NCC is a founding member and shareholder of Dao Foods International.