Foodtech startup, Next Gen launches in Singapore with seed funding of US$2.2 million

Foodtech startup Next Gen has launched in Singapore with Seed funding of US$2.2 million. Next Gen has established its headquarters, leadership team and research and development (R&D) centre in Singapore, from where it aims to build a global consumer brand, with China, the USA and Europe as targeted strategic markets. 

The startup will be producing and commercialising plant-based meat products.

Next Gen is co-founded by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes. Timo was previously the founder and Chief Executive Officer of German plant-based meat company LikeMeat. Founded in 2013, LikeMeat’s range of products is sold in 10 European countries through 15,000 supermarkets. LikeMeat was acquired by global plant-based food company LIVEKINDLY Collective earlier this year. LikeMeat is its largest acquisition, after raising US$200 million in a founders funding round in March 2020.

Andre Menezes is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. Andre was previously the General Manager of Country Foods Singapore, where he was involved in making Impossible Foods a household name in Singapore. He has played an instrumental role in introducing plant-based protein across Asia in the past few years.

Next Gen co-founder and CEO Timo Recker noted the rising demand for plant-based protein. “The demand for plant-based meat products has exploded in the last few years, with over US$1.5 billion invested in the first seven months of 2020, more than double 2019’s investment of US$534 million.

“The global plant-based protein segment is expected to reach US$85 billion by 2030 according to UBS.  Asia will see significant growth according to Technavio, projected to reach an estimated market value of US$12.75 billion by 2030.

“Our plant protein production and distribution are being built around a network of partners, who bring capacity, expertise and resources that can be scaled quickly. For example, we have manufacturing capacity of over 5,000 tons per year in place. Based on current average consumption, that means we expect we could serve 9,000 restaurants. We target to launch the consumer brand within the next six months.”

“We are preparing to onboard external investors in a Series A financing round in 2021. Those funds will drive our global expansion, technology and R&D,” concluded Timo.

Next Gen has chosen Singapore as its global headquarters for its innovation ecosystem, and its centrality to Asia.

To become more self-sufficient and reduce its dependence on food imports, Singapore introduced its “30 by 30” vision in 2019 to locally produce 30 percent of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030. Singapore’s investment firm Temasek Holdings has invested about US$5 billion in the agri-foodtech sector in the past few years.

Next Gen Co-founder Andre Menezes commented on Singapore’s environment. “We are building a global consumer brand from Singapore. The city offers a fantastic entrepreneurial ecosystem, private equity and venture capital, and an enviable legal and support environment. It also has a vibrant dining scene and some exceptionally talented chefs, who will help us to introduce our brand to the people of Singapore, and from here to those across Asia and around the world.

“Plant-based meat consumer demand is fueled by health concerns, environmental awareness, along with the improving taste and quality of plant-based products. The two big brands – Impossible and Beyond – have done a great job bringing out beef burgers, but globally, the big and unmet opportunity is plant-based chicken.

“Our products are 100% plant-based meat products. With our proprietary research and analysis, our products have the taste, texture and satisfaction of meat, while providing the benefits of a high protein, low carb, low fat, rich in fibre food. And our ingredients are GMO-free, produced more sustainably and with less environmental impact than meat.”

The global market leaders of plant-based meat – Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have a combined market value of more than US$12 billion. Various celebrities and public figures have invested, including Bill Gates, JAY-Z, Trevor Noah, Katy Perry, Serena Williams, and will.i.am, in Impossible Foods. Beyond Meat’s celebrity investors include Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio and Shaquille O’Neal.

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