SAN FRANCISCO - Thursday, 15. September 2022
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mayfield, and SOSV’s IndieBio Invest in Prolific Machines’ Novel and Sustainable Cell Production Technology
(BUSINESS WIRE) -- Prolific Machines, a next generation biotechnology company, is emerging from stealth today by announcing their massively oversubscribed Seed and Series A financings, led by the best VCs in the space. The Seed round was led by Arvind Gupta at Mayfield, the first investor in cultured meat. The Series A was led by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Prolific’s first check was written in late 2020, when SOSV’s IndieBio led their Pre-Seed round.
The lead VCs were joined by a number of high profile co-investors such as David Adelman, Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks), The Kraft Group (owners of the New England Patriots), David Rubenstein, Michael Rubin, Breyer Capital, The SALT Fund, Purple Orange Ventures, Fred Blackford, Jake Poliskin, and Baruch Future Ventures. A number of celebrities and restaurateurs have also invested in Prolific including: Kevin Love, Tobias Harris, Meek Mill, Ciara & Russell Wilson, Emily Ratajkowski, Maverick Carter, Sean Feeney, Michael Schulson, Mark Bucher, and RJ Melman.
Prolific is unique in that they are inventing the scalable manufacturing process first, and a product second. This is very different to the path taken by other cultured meat companies. Prolific aims to do for biology what Henry Ford did for automobiles. In 1906, there were hundreds of car companies, yet most people could not afford a car. After Ford invented the assembly line for automobiles, car production became scalable, and then cars became a mass market item. Prolific is inventing the technology that holds the key to building a scalable assembly line for biology.
Dr. Deniz Kent, Co-founder and CEO of Prolific Machines, started the company after witnessing the Syrian refugee crisis in his hometown of Antioch, Turkey. He realized that what he experienced would be nothing compared to the impending global refugee crises caused by climate change. He knew his expertise in stem cell biology could be used to create a sustainable food system, but lacked confidence in the ability of existing technologies to compete with factory farming on cost. He conceived of a new way to grow and control cells without the need for any recombinant proteins, the most expensive ingredients in cell production. He spent three years searching for the perfect co-founders while the idea marinated in his mind. He eventually found a brilliant physicist Dr. Max Huisman, and an exceptional machine learning engineer Declan Jones. Deniz convinced them to quit their jobs, and together they assembled an all-star team to embark upon a journey to revolutionize biomanufacturing.
“We are of the opinion that existing technologies being deployed in cultured meat will not reach price parity with factory farming. A fundamentally new approach is going to be required. We are inventing this new approach, and I'm open to making our technology available to every meat company. Our mission is to address the existential risks posed by our changing climate, and we have no time to waste,” said Deniz.
Arvind Gupta, partner at Mayfield and first investor in many prominent food companies, says of the Seed round, “I never intended to invest in another cultured meat company. But when Deniz showed me what they were doing, I was blown away by the creativity in their approach to reinvent the assembly line for food production. It is my goal to help reverse climate change by partnering with incredible teams, and I am convinced Prolific Machines will be a winner in the race for sustainable food production.”
After making quick progress, Breakthrough Energy Ventures met the team and was similarly impressed. “Prior to meeting Prolific we had come to the conclusion that a fundamental breakthrough would be required for cultured meat to be economically competitive with conventional meat production,” said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “We believe that Prolific Machines may be this breakthrough. Prolific’s novel technology has the potential to enable the cost-competitive production of high-quality cultured meat products and they have the team to execute it."
Po Bronson, Managing Director at IndieBio and General Partner at SOSV, was the first to recognise Prolific’s potential. He wrote the Pre-Seed check, and incubated them from IndieBio while they de-risked their early science. “Prolific was a radical idea with a truly incredible team, exactly what IndieBio loves. Prolific has broken all of the records at IndieBio, and I see their technology as the best in this space.”
Deniz explains the next steps. “We are building a 25,000 square foot HQ in Emeryville and ramping up hiring to expand our assembly line programs, including fish, poultry, and beef. If you are talented and looking to make a historic change, come and talk to us.”
If you would like to support us, you can join the waitlist and find out more information at www.prolific-machines.com.
About Prolific Machines
Prolific Machines is a biomanufacturing company inventing novel technologies to grow and differentiate stem cells at a dramatically lower cost relative to conventional means. The initial focus of the company is cultured meat, but the technology they are developing is cell-agnostic, meaning that it could be applied to myriad of different applications in biotechnology. Further information is available at www.prolific-machines.com, and you can stay updated by following the company on LinkedIn.
About Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Founded by Bill Gates and backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, BEV has raised more than $2 billion in committed capital to support cutting-edge companies that are leading the world to net-zero emissions. BEV is a purpose-built investment firm that is seeking to invest, launch and scale global companies that will eliminate GHG emissions throughout the economy as soon as possible. BEV seeks true breakthroughs and is committed to supporting these entrepreneurs and companies by bringing to bear a unique combination of technical, operational, market and policy expertise.
BEV is a part of Breakthrough Energy, a network of investment vehicles, philanthropic programs, policy advocacy, and other activities committed to scaling the technologies we need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Visit www.breakthroughenergy.org to learn more.
Mayfield is a global venture capital firm with a people-first philosophy and a 50+ year track record of inception and early-stage investing, partnering with founders to build iconic enterprise, consumer and engineering biology companies. Since its founding, the firm has invested in more than 500 companies, resulting in 120 IPOs and more than 200 acquisitions, and currently has $2.2B under management. For more information, go to https://www.mayfield.com or follow @MayfieldFund.
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