Singaporean FoodTech startup Next Gen concludes its Seed fund round with $10 million led by Temasek Holdings, K3 Ventures, EDB New Ventures, NX-Food, FEBE Ventures, and Blue Horizon. The startup plans to use the fund to invest in its regional expansion with plans of supplying restaurants in Singapore with its plant-based chicken alternative called TiNDLE this coming March 18, 2021.

Next Gen was founded in October 2020 by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes. The startup’s debut product is called TiNDLE Thy, a plant-based chicken thigh alternative. TiNDLE is made up of water, texturized protein (soy, wheat gluten, wheat starch, coconut oil, methylcellulose, oat fiber, and its trademarked Lipi™ made of sunflower oil and natural flavoring. The product also boasts having no cholesterol, no GMOs, and no antibiotics nor hormones.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Menezes highlighted the company’s proprietary blend of plant-based lipids that sets TiNDLE Thy apart from the competition: “Consumers and chefs want texture in chicken, the taste and aroma, and that is largely related to chicken fat, which is why we started with thighs instead of breasts. We created a chicken fat made from a blend, called Lipi, to emulate the smell, aroma, and browning when you cook.”

The founders are happy with their seed fund round outcome as their initial target was at $7 million. Next Gen’s seed fund comes in less than a year since it was founded in October 2020 with a founding capital of US$ 2.2 million. Recker and Menezes both have extensive experience in the food industry. Next Gen’s CEO Recker created German LikeMeat back in 2013. COO Menezes, on the other hand, was a former manager at Country Foods Singapore.

Menezes weighed in on the sustainability of the food industry and the importance of providing alternatives: “It was clear to me after I was inside the meat industry for so long that it was not going to be a sustainable business in the long run.”

Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings gives a confident nod to the startup as it rarely invests in early-stage companies and usually looks at backing companies at their Series A or B round of funding. The investment company has also invested in a few other notable players in the FoodTech industry such as Impossible Foods and Eat Just. Singapore aims to start producing 30 percent of its food locally by 2030.

As early as now, Next Gen is eyeing its Series A round of funding within the next one or two years to develop new products and expand into Europe and the US. The startup is already currently looking at future expansion plans as they are on the search to recruit a growth director to lead its distribution network.

In an interview with Green Queen Media, Recker explained how investors “recognize the need for a transformation in the food and meat industry [and] additionally, our experienced team and asset-lite business model allow us to enter the market and scale our business quickly.”

Southeast Asia continues to grow in the FoodTech and meat alternative industry as investors continue to back foreign and regional companies. Singapore spearheads the movement with multiple startups and key investments in the industry.

In September 2020, Singaporean cell-based meat company Shiok Meats secured its $12.6 million Series A, and in July 2020, Karana secured $1.7 million in its Seed funding round for its plant-based meat. The country’s strategic investments include Temasek’s backing of Impossible Foods and Eat Just. Singapore also made history when the Singapore Food Agency approved Eat Just’s GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken in December 2020 as the first cell-based meat alternative released in the commercial market.

Other regional players include Malaysia’s Phuture Foods with its take on plant-based meat, Hong Kong-based OmniFoods who plans to enter the Southeast Asian market within the year, and Indonesian plant-based meat company Green Butcher who has just concluded its Seed fund round earlier this month, raising $2 million.