Chile-headquartered food tech unicorn NotCo, valued at $1.5 billion, has raised another $70 million in series D extension to catapult its new AI platform “Giuseppe,” a B2B unit that enables innovations for CPG brands, ingredient suppliers, and technology providers. It’s also actively preparing for an IPO likely in 2025.
This round, which is led by Princeville Capital, brought NotCo’s total financing to just over $400 million. The alt protein company’s previous backers include Tiger Global Management, Union Square Hospitality Group, L Catterton, Trousdale Ventures, and Jeff Bezos through Bezos Expeditions.
Currently offering a line of branded products such as NotMilk, NotBurger and NotChicken, NotCo is best known for leveraging a variety of crops to mimic the textures, flavors and smells of animal-based foods through its proprietary technology that holds 12 U.S. patents. These patents have also been licensed to Kraft Heinz to create more sustainable products through joint venture The Kraft Heinz Not Company.
Proprietary Dataset For R&D
NotCo’s cofounder and CEO, Matias Muchnick, says their Giuseppe platform can accelerate R&D by using machine learning and algorithm, since its growing database contains flavor profiles, functionalities, and compositional information of thousands of plant-based ingredients. “It’s very efficient to tailor-make [for our B2B clients]. Instead of relying on just one flavor specialist,” Muchnick explained, “they’re now working with four to five different flavor houses through our technology to optimize their R&D.”
The AI platform consists of four modules designed for different purposes: Biagio, which generates plant-based formulations for target animal proteins; Discovery that helps food scientists better understand ingredients to scale products; Toolbox, which allows brands to develop prototypes that best mimic animal products’ textures and functionality; and Flora that maps aroma compounds naturally existing in food.
“That’s how we combine pineapple and cabbage to create milky and creamy notes in our milk, and use strawberries and tomatoes to create the taste of chicken,” Muchnick said. “It’s truly mind-blowing.”
‘Complete Plan’ For IPO
Aside from Giuseppe, withstanding a challenging economic environment in the near term to ensure healthy cashflow and future profitability is another key reason why NotCo decided to extend its series D raise. Muchnick mentioned this will also help the company better prepare for an IPO soon.
“We’ve already had a complete plan for an IPO by 2025,” he said. “It takes time and a proper process to take a company public, so cultivating that discipline beforehand allows us to be more ready and maintain our competitiveness.”