Estonian start-up Gelatex has a bold vision of starting a new chapter in the futuristic story “Cell-cultured meat cheaper than ever: how did it happen?”
Gelatex has found a solution to scale and enhance the production of nanofibrous material that could be used to grow cell-cultured meat. Within their innovative team composed of materials science and business development professionals, they found an opportunity to use multi-purposeful, cheap, and easy-to-use nanofibrous 3D scaffolding in the manufacture of cell-cultured meat.
This scalable scaffold is needed for manufactured cell-cultured meat production in order to give the meat structure. Without it, meat would just be a paté-type of mush. Currently popular electrospun and hydrogel solutions that are used to enable cell-cultured tissue products are 90% more expensive than what Gelatex can do with their technology. If the currently popular manufacturing solutions persist, lab-grown meat will only be affordable for the richest of enterprises and individuals. Yet, by 2040, cultured meat is estimated to make up 35% of global meat production. And the demand for meat will only increase in growing Asian markets.
Gelatex gained confidence from the USA Techstars accelerator to find worthy investors for their cause. The 1.2M seed round led by Change Ventures and Crosslight Partners is proof that early trend investors have faith in their vision and team. The question remains, however: are the cell-cultured meat producers ready to take a significant step in the manufacture of meat?
CEO of Gelatex, Märt-Erik Martens, emphasized the fact that the seed round is an early milestone for the start-up, but there are already multiple reasons to be proud of their achievements. “We are running multiple pilot projects with 8 out of 10 world’s leading cultured meat producers. We have run enough tests to know that our cheaper nanofibrous materials can make a true difference in the texture of cell-cultured meat. Currently, one kilogram of scaffolding material costs about 100 000 euros. Today, because of our technology, we are able to produce nanofibrous scaffolds at a price less than 1000 €/kg easily. If we stay true to our ambitions and keep scaling our technology, it will cost only 40 euros in less than 5 years,” said Martens.