Singapore-based venture capital firm Good Startup pledges to invest up to US$10 million in alternative protein companies in 2023. 

Singapore’s Good Startup has pledged their commitment to the emerging alternative protein market in the coming year, planning to invest between US$500,000 and US$1 million in 10 companies innovating in the field.

“We’re looking for passionate and driven entrepreneurs who are building great products that fit the market. In addition, we look for founders who are making an impact and excited about creating a sustainable food system,” said Gautam Godhwani, the Managing Partner of Good Startup.

Founded in 2021, Good Startup raised about US$34 million in 2022 for its first alternative protein fund, making 24 investments, deploying around 40% of their capital. American plant-based meat company Impossible Foods, egg-substitute maker Eat Just, Israeli cultured-milk maker Remilk, and Singaporean BioTech company TurtleTree Labs are part of the VC’s portfolio.

The alt protein market gained momentum over the past two years, with the Asia Pacific region (APAC) witnessing growth of 92% in 2021, with a valuation of US$312 million, almost double the amount raised the previous year. However, wary investors in the midst of a global pandemic have slowed funding activities in 2022.

“The alternative protein industry had a 50% reduction quarter over quarter, so clearly the sector has been impacted. This situation is forcing founders to become more cautious and lean as they’re finding ways to stretch capital further than before,” explained Godhwani, “Our funding activities mimic the global trend, and about 60% of our portfolios are coming from the US, but we’re actually eyeing tech companies whose solutions are applicable worldwide and we increasingly see that Asia is stepping up in that capacity.”

As APAC’s alternative protein industry is still emerging with regards to product development, adoption, and consumer awareness, it requires more effort to achieve a small market share, compared to mature markets such as that of the US.

Godhwani remains optimistic, stating, “Experts predict that it will be one of the largest markets for alt proteins in 2025. This is interesting because Asia has diverse consumer preferences. Over time, I think we’ll see a lot more specialisation. For example, Israel has become a cultivated meat hub and you might see an area become an alternative seafood hub. Then you have a market like Singapore which obviously stands out in the regulatory environment.”

In 2020, Singapore was the first country in the world to approve the sale of cultured meat, giving approval to Eat Just to sell their lab-grown meat to the public.

“As the sector grows, Singapore must continue to maintain that position by luring talent. And one way to do that is by building a lot of manufacturing facilities, research and development centers, and giving incentives to startups,” Godhwani concluded.

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