Estonian Gelatex picks up €1.2 million to make cell-cultured meat cheaper than ever

Gelatex, an Estonian based startup founded in 2016, has found a solution to cut the cost of producing cell-cultured meat products by 90%. 

Within their innovative team composed of materials science and business development professionals, they found an opportunity to use multi-purposeful, cheap, and easy-to-use nanofibrous 3D scaffolding in the manufacture of cell-cultured meat, the result is to scale and enhance the production of cell-cultured meat. 

The cultured meat and plant-based food markets are booming. By 2040, cultured meat is estimated to make up 35% of global meat production, and the trend is growing across markets internationally. Currently, cell-cultured meat is battling an image problem, with the stigmas of “wrong texture” and “too expensive to produce it en masse”. 

Gelatex is offering a sustainable solution to the growing crisis around global food production. With increasing weather extremes, clean water and fertile land are more valuable than ever  – both of which are needed for traditional meat products. Cell-cultured meat is being viewed as a more sustainable option for the planet, but until now has been extremely costly. 

Scaffold is needed for manufactured cell-cultured meat production in order to give the meat structure. Without the scaffold, meat would just be a paté-type of mush, which isn’t what consumers want. Currently popular electrospun and hydrogel solutions that are used to enable cell-cultured tissue products are 90% more expensive than what Gelatex can do with their technology. If the currently popular manufacturing solutions persist, lab-grown meat will only be affordable for the richest of enterprises and individuals.

CEO of Gelatex, Märt-Erik Martens, said: “Today, because of our technology, we are able to produce nanofibrous scaffolds at a price less than 1000 €/kg easily. If we stay true to our ambitions and keep scaling our technology, it will cost only 40 euros in less than 5 years. 20 euros in less than 10 years. This is less than one euro of scaffold per kg of meat. These high-performance materials have never been as accessible as they are today, because of our technology.”

Gelatex were identified by the USA Techstars accelerator to find investors for their mission to democratise cell-cultured meat products. The €1.2 million seed round is led by Change Ventures and Crosslight Partners and will be used to further develop the technology behind their lab-manufactured meat, turning affordable cell-cultured meat into a reality.