Synthesis Capital (“Synthesis”), a leading global food technology and alternative protein investor, today announces Synthesis Capital Fund I (“Fund”). With over $300m in assets under management, Synthesis now represents the largest Fund ever raised for the sector.
With this new infusion of capital, Synthesis will catalyse and support the next generation of businesses innovating across the entire food value chain. The oversubscribed Fund is anchored by private equity pioneer Jeremy Coller, through CPT Capital, with a cornerstone investment from Société Familiale d’Investissements. The Fund also received significant commitments from Nuveen (a TIAA company), Credit Suisse Climate Innovation Fund, Sir Ronald Cohen through Dynamic Loop Capital, DisruptAD (ADQ’s venture platform), The Nest, Heyi Holdings, trusts associated with the Sainsbury family, Interogo Holding (advised by IH International Advisors), WTT Investment Ltd (Tsai Family Office), and CIFF, amongst others.
This announcement coincides with the largest crisis in the global food system, but also with the most significant potential for its reinvention. The current unsustainable, animal-reliant food industry poses extensive challenges, further amplified by the global pandemic, the effects of climate change, and the rising cost of living. In addition, the collateral disruption arising from the present conflict in Ukraine is leading to inevitable further increases in food prices. The need for food system transformation is therefore more critical than ever. With recent technological breakthroughs, the food industry is now at an inflection point offering the potential to redefine our food system and feed the world in a sustainable way.
The Synthesis team brings a proven track record supporting and growing some of the most well-known start-ups and scale-ups in food technology since the sector’s nascency in 2014. With a deep understanding of the industry, Synthesis is well-positioned to identify and invest in companies with the highest potential to build the future of food. The Fund will invest globally and is targeting investments in around 15 companies, with an average cheque size of $15m.
Today’s announcement follows a series of successful investments already made by the Fund into both highly sought after and oversubscribed rounds in existing sector leaders, as well as promising emerging food businesses across alternative protein technology verticals. Portfolio companies to date include Upside Foods (formerly known as Memphis Meats), the leader in cultivated meat technology; Perfect Day, the first company to commercialise dairy ice-cream produced through precision fermentation and without the cow; and Redefine Meat, a plant-based pioneer which has developed proprietary and scalable 3D printing technology to create whole-cuts including steak. In addition to these alternative protein category leaders, Synthesis is also investing in platforms and enabling technologies with catalytic potential to be applied across the industry. Culture Biosciences, a “biomanufacturing-as-a-service” platform, for instance, allows customers to outsource R&D and scale up using their low-cost and scalable bioreactor farms.
Costa Yiannoulis, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Synthesis Capital said: “At Synthesis we back founders and companies with strong technical foundations and scaling potential. In order to transform our food system to feed 10 billion people by 2050, within planetary boundaries, these new food technologies and platforms are imperative. I am very excited by the level of interest we have received from investor partners in our Fund, by their strong belief in our thesis, and by the sheer growth potential of the alternative protein space in the coming decades. We already have investments in a number of game-changing companies under our belt and are well positioned, relatively early on in our deployment of the Synthesis Fund, to take advantage of the recent tech-wide market price correction, to back the food system unicorns of tomorrow.”
Rosie Wardle, Partner and Co-Founder of Synthesis Capital, said: “We are now at an inflection point in the industry where real innovation is coming to bear in the food system, driven by a confluence of factors including capital markets readiness, prioritisation of sustainability and climate goals by governments and corporates, and consumer choice shifting towards healthier and animal-free foods. With deep experience in this sector, we are ready to take advantage of this significant investment opportunity, and are confident that alternative proteins will no longer be considered “alternative” in the near future. We are incredibly grateful for the support of our investor partners who share our belief in the significant potential of harnessing alternative protein technologies and platforms to transform our ailing and antiquated food system.”
David Welch, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Synthesis Capital, added: “At Synthesis we believe technology is central to how we solve the huge challenges that exist within our global food system. But traditional food technology alone cannot create better versions of meat, egg, and dairy products that consumers will want to eat. The paradigm shift we are now witnessing lies with companies combining the best from food technology and modern biotechnology in new, innovative ways. This convergence of synthetic biology, tissue engineering, 3D printing, food chemistry, and other enabling technologies will allow us to transform plants, microorganisms, and animal cells into nutritious, scalable, sustainable food that tastes great, is priced competitively, and is accessible to all.”