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Startup Hampton Creek has a lofty goal. It desires to “reshape this crazy, bizarre food system in a way that actually works for people,” according to founder and chief executive Josh Tetrick.
And you can’t necessarily do that on the cheap.
So Hampton Creek, which has already produced plant-based mayo and cookie dough and has been pursuing a vegan egg alternative, has closed a $90 million round of new funding.
To get an idea of the broad appeal of the 62-person startup’s mission, just have a look at who invested in the latest round. Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures led the round, while Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff, Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin, DeepMind cofounders Mustafa Suleyman and Demis Hassabis, Collaborative Fund, Founders Fund, Asian food product and beverage giant Far East Organization, private equity firm WP Global, Bryan Johnson, Jean Pigozzi, Bryan Meehan, and Tao Capital Partners also participated.
Tetrick sees Hampton Creek as more than a company, he told us in an interview. For him, it’s about ethics — he’s not pleased with the effects of egg production and consumption on people’s bodies and the environment. And this attitude has reached some important customers. Hampton Creek products are now available in Walmart, Safeway, Target, and Whole Foods stores in the U.S., with international expansion looming.
More products for consumers are on the way. Look for pasta made of plant protein, for instance, and a substitute for scrambled eggs.
Tetrick believes the company will be able to automate certain aspects of lab work, screen plant proteins more quickly with the help of data science, and, of course, bring on more people to work on manufacturing and distribution. Because ultimately Tetrick wants Hampton Creek to sell its wares the big food producers that can have an impact on major supply chains.
“We can release it and probably some health food sustainability people would rejoice, but my whole point is we want people who don’t give a fuck about the world to be in love with it because it tastes better and it’s more affordable,” Tetrick said. “That’s our theory of change.”
The startup should have more than 100 employees by the end of 2015, Tetrick said. And soon enough it will outgrow the current office in San Francisco’s South of Market district. To date, Hampton Creek has raised $120 million.
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