DiCaprio, Downey Jr invest in Wildtype’s $100M Series B

DiCaprio, Downey Jr invest in Wildtype’s $100M Series B

Feb 28, 2022 3 min read
  • Cultivated seafood company Wildtype has raised a $100M Series B - first reported by TechCrunch - to scale its flagship salmon product
  • Funding will boost efforts to secure regulatory approval, go to market with traditional quality, sushi-grade salmon and reach price parity with farmed and caught fish longer term
  • Consumer focused investor L Catterton led the round, joined by corporate titan Cargill, Bezos Expeditions, Temasek and S2G's oceans-focused fund alongside Hollywood A-Listers and professional athletes
  • Startup joins ranks of tech for good backed by Hollywood A-Listers with Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition and Leonardo DiCaprio participating in Wildtype’s Series B while, separately, Climate & Capital columnist Danny Kennedy landed Cate Blanchett as a co-host of a new Audible podcast, Climate of Change

Last week Wildtype, a startup creating sushi-grade cultivated salmon, announced the close of its $100 million Series B, claiming the largest ever round for a cultivated seafood company. The consumer investor L Catterton led the round, joined by Bezos Expeditions, Temasek, the specialised Oceans and Seafood Fund of S2G Ventures and corporate giant Cargill as well as existing investors, Spark Capital, based in San Francisco and CRV, the VC founded in 1970 that has to date invested in more than 400 startups.

Founded in 2016, Wildtype has now raised more than $120 million and ranks among a growing number of tech for good startups backed by household brands, incumbent corporates and, notably, Hollywood A-Listers. Robert Downey Jr’s FootPrint Coalition and Leonardo DiCaprio both participated in Wildtype’s Series B, alongside several prominent chefs and professional athletes like NBA All-Star Blake Griffin. The actor Leonardo DiCaprio has become increasingly prominent as a climate activist, advisor and investor.

Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and environmentalist:

“Wild fish populations are threatened more than ever before. Wildtype is the clear leader in cultivated seafood, which will give us the chance to protect our oceans while creating the cleanest seafood on the planet. Wildtype will surely transform our food system with its incredible salmon.”

Leonardo DiCaprio recently joined the newly formed strategic advisory board of Energy Vault, a startup commercialising gravity-based storage technology, according to Axios Generate. Separately, in early February Cate Blanchett was announced co-host of a new Audible podcast, Climate of Change, joining co-host Danny Kennedy, Climate & Capital columnist and Chief Energy Operator of the clean energy startup incubator New Energy Nexus.

Somewhat gratuitous yet noteworthy mentions. And, while we’re at it, don’t forget Emma Thompson’s headlines with Extinction Rebellion, including the infamous XR 2019 ‘pink boat’ but also, of course, Jane Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays (our favourite channel: Instagram.)

Image credit: Wildtype

Co-Founders by Aryé Elfenbein and Justin Kolbeck launched Wildtype just over five years ago to create the cleanest and most sustainable seafood available. The startup boasts its flagship, cell cultivated salmon is free of mercury, microplastics, antibiotics and contaminants found in wild and farmed fish, as well as being more sustainable to produce. Wildtype unveiled its sushi-grade salmon with a San Francisco pilot in 2021. Wildtype expects to offer a premium product first to fine dining restaurants once FDA approved.

Justin Kolbeck, Co-Founder and CEO of Wildtype:

“This investment provides us with the capital necessary to dramatically expand our production capabilities to match the rapid growth in awareness and demand for cultivated seafood. Whether you are looking for mercury and microplastic-free seafood options, or trying to eat more sustainably, we want Wildtype seafood to be accessible to as many people as possible.”

Aryé Elfenbein, Co-Founder:

“Wildtype’s scaled-up production systems will enable us to bring an unprecedented level of transparency and traceability to the salmon supply chain. We couldn’t be more excited to expand our existing partnerships and offer healthful seafood that is free of harm to both people and the planet.”

Jon Owsley, Managing Partner at L Catterton:

“We are on the cusp of a consumer revolution around cultivated proteins, and Wildtype is well-positioned to play a leading role in this transformation, starting with salmon.”

Blake Griffin, NBA All-Star and Wildtype investor:

“Finding nutritious foods that are made sustainably is extremely hard, but Wildtype is doing just that.”

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