US-Asian alternative protein venture capital fund Lever VC announced on Wednesday it has completed the final close of Lever VC Fund I with $80 million raised to back early-stage plant-based and cultivated meat and dairy companies around the world.

The Fund has already built a portfolio of 19 fast-growing plant-based, cultivated, and fermented animal protein companies from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, the United States, and Brazil, Lever VC said in a statement.

Lever VC’s backers include several of the world’s largest meat companies from the US, China, and Southeast Asia; several of the world’s largest ingredient and food commodities companies from the US and Europe; one of the world’s largest fermentation companies from Europe; two of the world’s largest AgriFeed companies from China and Southeast Asia; family offices of the largest retail groups in several countries; and a range of additional family offices, it added.

“We are pleased with the strong growth in value, sales, and technology of our current portfolio, and we’ll continue to invest in more stellar companies over the next year,” said Lever VC Managing Partner Nick Cooney. “We are grateful to be partnered with some of the biggest food companies from China, Southeast Asia, the US, and Europe, as well as value-add family offices. We also look forward to beginning the raise of Lever VC Fund II early next year on the back of large pre-commitments from existing LPs and strong interest from institutional investors.”

The development also comes as alternative protein products gain popularity globally including in Asia and Southeast Asia. Reuters reported in April that the demand for plant-based protein foods is surging in Asia, according to suppliers, as suspicion over possible links between wild animal meat and the new coronavirus drives some consumers, particularly in Hong Kong and China, to rethink diets.

Lever VC’s portfolio currently consists of TurtleTree Labs (led pre-Seed), Avant (led pre-Seed), THIS (co-led Series A), Mission Barns (Seed and Series A), Bond Pet Foods (led Seed), Better Meat Co (Seed), Blackbird Foods (led Pre-Seed and Seed), The New Butchers (Seed), Bluu (Seed), A Dozen Cousins (Seed and Series A), Welldone (Seed), Marvelous Foods (led Seed), Good Planet Foods (Pre-A), The Good Spoon (led Seed), Grounded (led Seed), CellX (Seed), NoMoo (Seed), Mozza (led pre-Seed) and Heura (Series A).

Portfolio companies that received investment from Lever VC in 2019 and 2020 have already seen growth in valuation or valuation caps of 44 times, 13 times, 7 times, 3 times, 3 times, 2.5 times, 2 times, 2 times, 1.6 times, and 1.1 times since investment, with three more set to launch first follow-on rounds later this year.

Lever VC tracks over 2,000 alternative protein companies globally, with a central office in Hong Kong and team members in Singapore, China, the US, UK, France, Israel, Brazil, and India.

Prior to launching the Lever VC Fund, Partners Nick Cooney and Lawrence Chu made family office investments into alternative protein companies including Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, JUST, Upside Foods (Memphis Meats), Mosa Meats, Aleph Farms, Miyoko’s, and Kite Hill Foods.

Lever VC is actively speaking with investors interested in Lever VC Fund II, which will begin raising early next year, it added.

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