Start-up Yali Bio raises $3.9M in funding to develop plant-based fats

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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Californian foodtech company Yali Bio has raised $3.9M in a recent seed funding round, which it will use to create better quality fats to be used in plant-based food products.

Investors include Essential Capital, who led the round, Third Kid Venture Capital, S2G Ventures, CRCM Ventures, First-in Ventures, and FTW Ventures.

Angel investors include John Goldsmith and Stephanie Sher. The start-up’s total funding now stands at $5M.

Yali Bio will use this money to help scale up its company, which aims to improve plant-based meat products by developing a platform which creates tailor-made high-quality fats that enhance the taste of different types of meat alternatives.

Founded in 2021, the start-up is working to develop these tailor-made fats using a precision fermentation technology, which will create a selection of unique plant-based fats to better emulate the flavour of different types and cuts of animal-based meats.

Currently plant-based meats are typically made with coconut oil, which becomes liquid once the product is heated up, taking a lot of flavour out with it, and making the vegan meat very dry. Another commonly-used oil in plant-based burgers, steak, meatballs and sausages is palm oil, which like coconut oil, causes a significant amount of deforestation, making it an unsustainable fat to use in the production of any food.

Yali Bio claim that their plant-based fats will produce less than 0.5kg of CO2 in comparison to beef which produces 15kg, pork which produces 4kg, and dairy-based butter which produces 2kg.

Managing Partner at Essential Capital, Edward Shenderovich, said: “Yali Bio is one of the first companies tackling the issue of plant-based fats through precision fermentation.

“We believe there is a substantial market opportunity for better functioning fats with a smaller environmental footprint and we are thrilled to be working with Yali Bio to bring their solutions to bear.”

Managing Partner at S2G Ventures, Chuck Templeton, said: “High quality fats are currently a major weak point when developing plant-based analogs for animal proteins. We are excited to invest into Yali Bio to improve this crucial component of plant based products with the goal of enhancing the consumer experience while reducing the impacts of conventional animal husbandry.”

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