Startup accelerator company Y Combinator—which was instrumental to the success of startups AirBnb and Dropbox—is shifting its focus to help clean-meat startups disrupt the animal agriculture industry. Y Combinator (which incubates companies in their early stages and provides funding, business tools, and networking opportunities to help them succeed) recently partnered with food advocacy group Good Food Institute (GFI) to help attract companies working to create alternatives to traditional animal agriculture, and listed “cellular agriculture and clean meat” as one of its top funding priorities.
“[…] We actually believe that clean meat could replace nearly all animal meat at some point,” Gustaf Alstromer, a partner at Y Combinator, told Fast Company. “We think that if it works, [clean meat] will revolutionize the entire meat industry, and we think that it will probably be entrepreneurs and startups that build the companies that produce that meat.”
Y Combinator’s graduating summer class was comprised of 132 startups, including Seattle Food Tech (which makes plant-based chicken nuggets), Spero Foods (which developed plant-based cheese and egg replacer Scramblit), vegan delivery service Mylk Guys, and Cytera CellWorks (which specializes in creating cell structures for clean-meat production).
“No one was talking about clean meat or anything like this even three or four years ago,” Alstromer said. “There’s a wave of interest coming right now, and we see that in our applications.”