Linh Nguyen (Earth VC) and Patricia Bubner (Orbillion)

Earth Venture Capital Invests in Orbillion Bio to Scale Up Cultivated Meat Production

This funding round brings Orbillion’s total raised funds to $15 million. The investment will primarily support the startup’s efforts to achieve pre-commercial scale and bring its first product to market.
Food & Nutrition
June 27, 2024

Earth Venture Capital (Earth VC), a global climate tech venture capital firm based in Vietnam, has announced its strategic investment in the innovative US-based cultivated meat startup Orbillion Bio (Orbillion). This investment round, co-led by The Venture Collective and At One Ventures, with participation from Y Combinator and Metaplanet, marks a significant milestone in Orbillion's journey to scale production and advance its technology.

Livestock farming is estimated to contribute approximately 11.1-19.6% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With the demand for meat projected to rise due to income and population growth, especially in low- and middle-income countries, sustainable solutions for meat production are urgently needed. Cultivated meat, grown from animal cells, offers a promising alternative that could significantly reduce the environmental impact of traditional livestock farming.

Earth VC, renowned for its focus on climate deep-tech startups, views this investment in Orbillion Bio as a pivotal opportunity to support the burgeoning cultivated meat industry. They believe this sector is at the forefront of breakthrough innovations that will help mitigate GHG emissions from livestock farming and meat production.

Founded in 2020 by Patricia Bubner, Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay, and Samet Yildirim, Orbillion, an alumni of Y Combinator, specializes in producing Wagyu beef cells. The company aims to become a leading B2B supplier of beef muscle and fat cells, particularly targeting the ground beef market, which is currently valued at $78 billion in the US alone. This market presents substantial growth opportunities for Orbillion.

In September 2023, prior to this funding round, Orbillion successfully conducted a 200-liter production run in Singapore within an unprecedented timeframe. This achievement, realized in less than a month of tech transfer, demonstrated their bioprocess adaptability to existing bioreactor infrastructure. Orbillion became the first pre-Series A company to achieve a 200-liter run with under $10 million in funding. Additionally, Orbillion partnered with Luiten Food, a European leader in premium meats, to bring cell-cultured Wagyu beef to over 35 countries pending EU regulatory approval. This partnership leverages Luiten Food’s network of 1,200 distribution channels, facilitating the market entry of Orbillion’s premium product.

“We are thrilled to partner with Earth VC as we set up our presence in Singapore and explore the Asian market. said Patricia, CEO of the startup. “Orbillion is a cultivated meat leader because we’ve shown we can successfully scale up in a fraction of the time and cost of other cultivated meat companies. These technical breakthroughs are critical for Orbillion and the industry, but we never lose sight of our customers and end consumers. We’re incredibly encouraged by the forward-looking regulatory stance and consumers in the Asian market and are thrilled to welcome such a knowledgeable and aligned investor to this charge.”

Despite industry challenges, including regulatory restrictions in some US states, Earth VC remains optimistic about the future of cultivated meat. “We see this as a prime time to invest,” said Linh Nguyen of Earth VC. “We're in the early stages of technology adoption, and resistance to change is understandable. We believe things will be different in a few years, and this partnership aims to push the industry forward, especially in the East. Positive developments in regulation have emerged not only in Singapore but also in Korea, Japan, China, and beyond.”

Nguyen added, “Orbillion is unique in this field. Their technology can adapt rapidly to new types of meat, and go to mass scale while still being very earth-friendly with low energy consumption and water saving. This is perfectly aligned with our fund and our planet."

Looking to harness these opportunities, Orbillion is working towards achieving price parity with conventional beef, targeting an annual output of 4 million pounds of finished product. The company’s scalable technology relies on an asset-light production system, optimized bioprocesses, and a predictive algorithm for cultivated cells to enable rapid scale-up. This "algorithm for cultivated meat" simulates optimal conditions for scaling mammalian cell cultures and predicts cell behavior when transitioning from flat surfaces to liquid suspension. This approach minimizes costly lab trials and maximizes resource efficiency.

This funding round brings Orbillion’s total raised funds to $15 million. The investment will primarily support the startup’s efforts to achieve pre-commercial scale and bring its first product to market.

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