v2foods CEO Nick Hazell, Hungry Jacks founder Jack Cowin and Main Sequence Ventures partner Phil Morle. Photo: supplied
- Fast food billionaire Jack Cowin partnered with the CSIRO’s innovation fund to create a plant-based burger
- The JV business, v2food, launched at the start of 2019, produced its burger within 8 months
- The mince ‘meat’ is made from legumes
Plant-based burger startup v2food, the CSIRO joint-venture behind the Hungry Jack’s vegetarian Rebel Whopper has raised $35 million in a Series A round less than 10 months after launching.
The joint-venture startup between billionaire Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia and the CSIRO was backed by the science body’s innovation fund, Main Sequence Ventures, and Horizons Ventures, along with the Fairfax family’s private investment vehicle Marinya Capital and Sequoia Capital China.
The round was oversubscribed and the choice of Horizons and Sequoia demonstrates the startup’s desire to expand in the Asia-Pacific region.
v2foods, co-founded and led by former Masterfoods and PepsiCo executive Nick Hazell, is looking to build a $20 million processing plant in Australia and the funds will go towards R&D, expanding its local footprint and planning for the production facility in an undisclosed regional location, as well as developing a rapidly scalable supply chain.
The Rebel Whopper burger is the company’s first commercial product and it is pushing to have retail products on supermarket shelves in time for Christmas. The ‘mince’ is made from protein-rich legumes to looks and taste like meat, with added fibre and nutrients.
Main Sequence Ventures partner Phil Phil Morle declared v2food “an outstanding example of an innovative startup committed to solving a global problem”.
The global alternative protein market is predicted to be worth $7.5 billion by 2025 with the CSIRO estimating demand for plant-based protein in Australia could top $6 billion by 2030, triple its current value.