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Climax Foods

climaxfoods.com

Founded Year

2019

Stage

Seed VC - II | Alive

Total Raised

$7.5M

Last Raised

$7.5M | 2 yrs ago

About Climax Foods

Climax Foods uses data science and machine learning to replace animals in the food system, by finding better ways to transform plants into foods.

Headquarters Location

2865 Seventh Street

Berkeley, California, 94710,

United States

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Research containing Climax Foods

Get data-driven expert analysis from the CB Insights Intelligence Unit.

CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned Climax Foods in 1 CB Insights research brief, most recently on Sep 3, 2020.

Expert Collections containing Climax Foods

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Climax Foods is included in 4 Expert Collections, including Artificial Intelligence.

A

Artificial Intelligence

9,442 items

This collection includes startups selling AI SaaS, using AI algorithms to develop their core products, and those developing hardware to support AI workloads.

A

Alternative Proteins Startups

393 items

This Collection includes B2B and B2C companies developing alternatives to animal-derived proteins, including plant-based meat, dairy alternatives, lab-grown or cultured meat, and fermented proteins.

A

Agriculture Technology (Agtech)

1,904 items

Companies that are using technology to make farms more efficient.

D

Digital Health

8,838 items

Startups recreating how healthcare is delivered

Latest Climax Foods News

The Briefing: Kry Raises $317M, Current Picks Up $220M, And More

Apr 27, 2021

Stockholm’s Kry picks up $317 million for telehealth Stockholm-based telehealth provider Kry raised €262 million (US$317 million) in a Series D funding round led by CPP Investments and Fidelity Management & Research . Founded in 2015, Kry previously raised around $252 million in funding, per Crunchbase data. The latest financing follows a period of sharp growth for Kry, which reportedly saw business double in 2020. — Joanna Glasner Funding rounds Current raise $220M for mobile banking: Mobile banking provider Current raised $220 million in a Series D round led by Andreessen Horowitz . The financing reportedly sets a $2.2 billion valuation for the six-year-old, New York-based company. Clio gets $110M for legal tech:  Clio , a Vancouver-based provider of cloud-based tools for law firms to use in running their practices, raised $110 million in a Series D funding round led by T. Rowe Price and OMERS Growth Equity . — Joanna Glasner Honorlock uses artificial intelligence and human intelligence to give students a smooth remote testing experience, CEO Michael Hemlepp said in an interview with Crunchbase News. While other proctoring services either tend to “overflag” students for supposed cheating or use humans, which can be intimidating, Honorlock uses a feedback loop that’s scenario-driven, so that students aren’t unnecessarily being reported for suspected cheating. The idea behind Honorlock is to “earn (students’) trust in the beginning and reduce anxiety, and have a more concentrated experience so their performance improves,” Hemlepp said. Honorlock only goes to the educational institution if it has hard evidence of cheating. That tends to be relatively rare, according to Hemlepp. Otherwise, a trained proctor can deescalate a situation is Honorlock’s technology can’t see a questionable situation through. “This market that we got really excited about, we just hadn’t seen a team that thought a lot about the students and was using AI technology to solve the problem,” Defy Partners managing director Neil Sequeria said in an interview. Higher-education institutions including the University of Florida, Georgia Tech, and the University of Maryland are among the 300 institutions that use Honorlock for exam proctoring. When a school signs up to use Honorlock, all of its students come with it. HonorLock surpassed the 1 million student mark last year, and is planning on onboarding another million students this year (for context, the market for higher education students is about 20 million students, according to Hemlepp). “Trying to create a testing environment that’s really supportive of all students and that deescalation was something that was very differentiating,” Amit Patel , managing director of Owl Ventures , said in an interview. “The varieties of universities and higher ed institutions really appreciated that fact.” The past year or so has put edtech in particular in the spotlight, as schools have quickly had to adjust to remote learning. And for testing, that means figuring out ways to securely administer exams remotely. For Honorlock, that meant revenue grew 1000 percent year-over-year as schools turned to the system for exam proctoring. The company added about 70 employees last year, reaching more than 100 employees total, and is planning on hiring another 70 or so employees this year. With the new funding, Honorlock plans on investing in its talent, technology, and strategy, according to Hemlepp, along with its go-to-market strategy. The company is also looking to expand its presence in the corporate space, which it’s already entered, to provide remote proctoring services for exams such as real estate licensing exams. The new round brings Honorlock’s total funding to nearly $40 million. The company last raised money with an $11.5 million Series A led by Defy Partners in March 2020. Illustration: Dom Guzman On Tuesday, the Santa Clara, California-based company announced a $12 million convertible note to support the production line of its lead batteries made from its patented, solar-inspired Silicon Joule technology. This includes what company CEO John Barton touts as the world’s first factory-ready single-block 24-volt deep-cycle lead battery. The batteries can be used in transportation and home power storage. The company’s technology was founded from university research by Peter Borden and Michele Klein , who realized the limitation on batteries was going to be storage, said Barton, who came in as CEO in 2017. “They hypothesized that they could make a lead battery perform better if it was made from better materials,” he added. “They discussed silicon, and the benefit of that is taking chemistry and using silicon supply chains, bringing two giant industries together to solve energy storage quickly.” Gridtential’s battery Gridtential’s Silicon Joule replaces the metal grids in conventional lead batteries with specially processed silicon wafers and stacked-cell architecture to reduce weight, increase power performance and extend cycle life, which enables the batteries to charge up to two times faster, last more than four times longer, and weigh up to 30 percent less than conventional lead batteries, Barton said. The company is already working with 12 battery partners for development. Barton estimates the lead battery market is valued at $60 billion, and the energy storage market will be $200 billion in a few years. In addition, the benefit to lead batteries is they are safer — lithium batteries can’t be put out with water — and they are the most recycled. Infrastructure is already in place to do that, compared with the cost of lithium batteries, which does not include recycling, he said. “The circular economy is already in place for lead batteries,” Barton added. Andrew Chung , founder and managing partner at 1955 Capital, said in an interview that Gridtential is proving that it can roll thousands of batteries off of production lines having raised tens of millions versus the hundreds of millions other battery companies take in. Chung has looked at more than 500 battery companies over the past 20 years and said he was “blown away” by Gridtential’s team and technology. “Their technology drops into existing manufacturing and the silicon wafer is already an established supply chain,” he added. “There will be a number of tailwinds in getting this commercialized. When John says they are working with 12 different groups, that is phenomenal. It plants the seeds for go-to-market partners. They only need to hit a few to be a billion-dollar business. It gives them a shot at winning big here.” Battery photo courtesy of Gridtential Energy. Alternative proteins, which include plant-based foods, used to attract only vegetarians and vegans. But as technology advances in the space, experts say there will be tasty options for everyone, even die-hard meat eaters, and that opens up a massive market for investment. “The field is only seven to 10 years into its existence, but we have seen leaps and bounds of progress in the past few years,” said Amy Huang , university innovation manager at nonprofit think tank Good Food Institute , which supports the development of safe and sustainable alternative proteins. “And, now it is targeted at the 97 percent of meat eaters,” she added. “As a result, there is ample room for additional innovation.” Consumers concerned about current meat-producing processes, as well as the trend of eating healthier, are already asking for alternative proteins. This is despite a lingering negative perception of their taste and texture, experts say. The market for alternative meat, eggs, dairy and seafood products is predicted to reach at least $290 billion by 2035, according to research by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corp . While it may seem like alternative proteins are suddenly all the rage, Decker Walker , Boston Consulting Group’s head of agribusiness, isn’t ready to call it a bubble just yet. “It is in some areas because some of the technology is decades away,” Walker said. “Investment-wise, it is also hard to say because it was a very sleepy industry up until five years ago. However, the trend is very clear that our future will have more alternative protein.” Inside alternative proteins Huang defines alternative proteins as direct replacements for meat, eggs and dairy that are derived in one of three ways: plant-based, cell-cultured or fermentation. She predicts the future success of these proteins will depend on which of those methods becomes most viable. She expects that first it will be plant-based proteins that lead, and then those created by microbial fermentation — the newest platform. Third will be proteins created by cell culture, a more advanced technology, she said. “There is also a ton of research whitespace,” she added. “If you look at the broad landscape, there are lots of foundational questions to still answer: What are the right raw materials? Soy, wheat and peas are dominant in plant proteins, but soy and wheat are byproducts and not optimized for human consumption. Can we diversify plant proteins to look beyond these three?” Fermentation uses intact live microorganisms to process plant ingredients, while cultured meat grows from animal cells obtained from animals in a process that advocates say doesn’t hurt the animals. The cells are then warmed and given nutrients to grow muscle and fat. The results of microbial fermentation are already seen in the form of Impossible Foods’ flagship burger, and products from rival Beyond Meat , as well as faux ground-meat products that are designed to closely mimic animal meat in terms of texture, smell and taste, Huang said. In addition, there is academic research and startups working on sophisticated cuts of meat and chicken alternatives, as well as fish substitutes. For the sector to advance, some of the technology still has to be advanced, including in the manufacturing processes for texturizing and extruding proteins, but there are also other promising methods. Redefine Meat , for example, uses 3D printing technology, while Rival Foods is experimenting with shear-cell technology to generate whole cuts of meat from plant-based proteins, she added. Despite growth in the competitive landscape for cultured meat and the food supply chain,  industrial-scale facilities and lower pricing for these technologies is likely still 10 to 15 years out, Huang said. “Progress is being made, and there is early evidence that these are tractable areas,” she added. Strong investment Many investors are eager to grab a forkful of alternative protein startups. Since 2016, venture capitalists infused about $4.2 billion into 363 known global investments within this space, according to Crunchbase data. In 2020, just under $2 billion was invested in global venture-backed startups in the space, dominated by Impossible Foods ’ total raise of $700 million in Series F and Series G rounds last year. That was a 101 percent jump in funding from 2019 to 2020, according to the database. This year is already quite active with $602 million in venture capital doled out in 39 transactions, which include separate $200 million rounds to LIVEKINDLY and Eat Just in March. Although big players received large chunks of capital, Sean O’Sullivan , managing general partner at early-stage investment firm SOSV , said 2020 was a good year for companies raising funding in those nascent stages, including for startups that haven’t even hit the market with products yet. There are also a number of $100 million deals on tap for this year, he added. Cellular meat is still in the “birthing stage,” he said, but other alternative protein options are already commercially viable. “Plant-based is already here and in your refrigerator, as are foods created around a certain protein, such as dairy protein,” he said. “With cell-based meat products, Memphis Meats is going for the whole burger and would be selling in restaurants and stores, except for regulatory issues.” SOSV invested in Memphis Meats at its pre-seed stage and said the company is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine how best to label its food products so they can be safely sold commercially. In addition, O’Sullivan expects more capital to go into infrastructure to support the scaling required to create the enormous level of food output needed to feed people around the world, but it will take time. “Billions will be spent over the next five years to scale at all three of those capabilities, and a new layer of infrastructure companies will come in that will make the products,” he added. “Food is a multitrillion-dollar industry, so to actually redesign it will take decades.” Food makers Eat Just’s new funding round came just months after it announced in December that the use of its cultured chicken, which it considers to be real chicken meat, as an ingredient in chicken bites was approved to sell in Singapore — the first country in the world to commercialize cell-based meat products, co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said in an interview. “It’s real chicken, not plant-based, and this is the first time the technology has been done and commercialized,” he said. “There is no difference from a taste and nutrition standpoint, and surveys among people trying it in Singapore say its tastes as good or better than the traditional chicken they are used to eating, and 80 percent of people say they feel better about eating it.” Eat Just’s cultured chicken The San Francisco-based company’s brands, egg alternative Just Egg, and the chicken brand Good Meat, are available in more than 20,000 distribution points in the U.S. and Canada. Eat Just’s origins began in 2011 when the company was called Hampton Creek and had launched its early vegan food brands, including Just Mayo, an egg-free mayonnaise alternative, and Just Cookie Dough, an egg-free, dairy-free edible cookie dough. The company started with the egg and found a plant that scrambled like an egg. It then tried to make a number of products from the plant, but the research focused on getting to the point where consumers could pour egg-like product from a plant into a frying pan and have it without cholesterol, using less land and water, Tetrick said in an interview. “We knew there were more than 350,000 plants all over the world and had no idea if one could make an egg,” he said. “We found the mung bean that works like an egg, and built the technology and business model around it. That was the first challenge, and the second was commercializing.” But Eat Just’s successes weren’t without some challenges along the way: It weathered mislabeling allegations in 2015, and then in 2017, product safety claims that prompted Target to remove its products from shelves. The FDA later cleared the company of those claims and Tetrick declined to comment on past issues. Meanwhile, Berkeley, California-based Climax Foods , which raised a $7.5 million seed round last September, is using proprietary data science to create plant-based foods, starting with plant-based alternatives of the seven most-sold cheeses that aim to mimic the taste, flavor, texture and nutrition of their dairy-based counterparts. Climax Foods CEO Oliver Zahn told Crunchbase News the company has performed about 100 tastings for its cheese products, and the response was positive with some people unable to distinguish between the Climax Foods products and dairy-based cheeses. “If we can control the flavor and texture of this well, we can do anything,” he added. “Once you understand how fermentation works in one brand of cheese, you may only have to do small parameter optimizations to make the others.” With the promising results, Zahn said, the company aims to raise a small bridge round before seeking a Series A round specifically toward its go-to market. Food’s future Tetrick expects to see more startups and multinational companies working on technology to make alternative proteins, and the capital to support them to follow. “My focus is that by the time my niece graduates from high school — she is 2 years old now — we can have eggs in the morning, chicken at night and beef without slaughtering an animal,” he added. “The hurdle right now is scaling. We can’t just make enough for the U.S., but for everywhere. And, we have to continue to lower the cost so everyone can afford it.” There is also the challenge of perception. While consumers are open to new flavor profiles and experiences, the foods produced will need to be something that someone wants to eat, said Boston Consulting Group’s Walker. Plant-based alternatives are picking up, especially in food items where they aren’t the main act, such as lasagna, where the small amount of meat doesn’t change the overall taste of the food item. However, when it comes to steak — where the dining experience involves mouthfeel and texture as much as taste — there are still a host of technical challenges the food industry needs to overcome, including the cost and that many of the foods are highly processed, Walker added. “You don’t need to fix the constraints all at once for adoption, but for rapid adoption, you will need to optimize protein crops,” he said. “Heme, which gives meat the blood flavor, is a relatively expensive process. That will need to come down in cost. Texturization can be done on an individual basis, but the technology is not there yet to do it in a rapid scale way.” Photo of Good Meat chicken courtesy of Eat Just.

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Climax Foods Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was Climax Foods founded?

    Climax Foods was founded in 2019.

  • Where is Climax Foods's headquarters?

    Climax Foods's headquarters is located at 2865 Seventh Street, Berkeley.

  • What is Climax Foods's latest funding round?

    Climax Foods's latest funding round is Seed VC - II.

  • How much did Climax Foods raise?

    Climax Foods raised a total of $7.5M.

  • Who are the investors of Climax Foods?

    Investors of Climax Foods include S2G Ventures, Manta Ray, Prelude Ventures, Canaccord Genuity Group, Index Ventures and 8 more.

  • Who are Climax Foods's competitors?

    Competitors of Climax Foods include Impossible Foods and 2 more.

Compare Climax Foods to Competitors

Eat Just Logo
Eat Just

Eat Just develops plant-based alternatives to eggs, mayonnaise, and meat. Good Meat, a division of Eat Just, offers meat made from animal cells instead of livestock. The company was formerly known as Hampton Creek. It was founded in 2011 and is based in Alameda, California.

The Abbot's Butcher Logo
The Abbot's Butcher

The Abbot's Butcher makes artisan plant-based meats.

R
Rebellyous Foods

Rebellyous Foods is a food manufacturing technology and production company that makes ready-to-heat plant-based chicken nuggets, patties, and chicken strips.

G
Growthwell

Growthwell Foods is a plant-based food innovation company that specializes in sourcing, research, and development, and customizing OEM for sauces, pastes, and ingredients made with konnyaku, mushroom, and soy, as well as chickpea and other legumes.

D
DAIZ

DAIZ engages in the research & development, production, and sale of raw materials extracted from germinated soybeans, focusing on the development of soy-based meat products. The company's products are also used for applications in functional materials, reagents, cosmetics, and drug discovery. The company was formerly known as DAIZ Energy and Soy Energy Co. It was founded in 2015 and is based in Kumamoto, Japan.

Quorn Foods Logo
Quorn Foods

Quorn Foods provides sustainable protein alternatives to meat, as well as manufactures prepared foods and miscellaneous food specialties. It is based in Stockesley, England.

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