NotCo just got a major boost from celebs. Athletes Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer and musician Questlove just signed on as investors in the Chilean food tech company.
The plant-based brand, which was founded in 2015, raised $235 million in Series D funding. The round, led by investment firm Tiger Global Management, brought the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion. To date, NotCo has raised more than $350 million.
Less than six years after launching, NotCo has become a name brand in Latin America. The company produces a variety of plant-based products, including NotMilk, NotIceCream, NotMayo, NotMeat, and NotBurger.
NotCo made its debut in the U.S. in the fall of 2020. It launched its whole and two percent reduced fat NotMilk in major retailers like Whole Foods Market and Sprouts nationwide. The brand also partnered with fast-food giants Burger King and Papa John’s in Chile.
While it may seem like something straight out of a SciFi flick, a robot is the brains behind NotCo’s range of vegan products. The brand uses artificial intelligence (AI) software called “Giuseppe.”
Giuseppe’s algorithms are able to analyze plant-based foods on a molecular level. The robot is then able to better determine which ingredients are ideal for creating vegan versions of non-vegan foods.
“Our patented A.I. gives us a significant competitive advantage due to the speed and accuracy with which we’re able to develop and bring new products to market,” NotCo’s founder and CEO, Matias Muchnick, said.
NotCo gains celebrity investors
The brand is already backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. In 2019, the business magnate’s investment group, Bezos Expeditions, along with ethical investment firm The Craftory, invested $30 million into the company.
According to Muchnick, the new round of funding will be used, in part, to establish markets in Canada and Mexico. The company will also increase market shares in the U.S. and Chile. It has plans to expand into Europe and Asia within the next year.
NotCo will also increase its range, adding products like plant-based seafood and chicken to meet the growing demand for vegan food.
“Our theory is that there is a crazy dynamic among people: 60 percent who are already eating plant-based are not happy with the taste, and 30 percent of those who drink cow’s milk are waiting to change if there is a similar taste,” Muchnick explained.
“Our technology is based in AI so that we can create a different food system, as well as products faster and better than others in the space. There are 300,000 plant species, and we still have no idea what 99 percent of them can do.”