- Next Gen, which makes plant-based chicken, just raised a record $100 million Series A.
- The Singaporean brand is expanding to the US, starting with a few restaurants.
- Its CEO says Next Gen attracts investors by scaling production of its Tindle chicken quickly.
There’s no shortage of brands making plant-based meat, but one just raised a historic amount of money.
Next Gen, based in Singapore, announced on Tuesday that it had raised a Series A funding round of $100 million. Its main product is Tindle, a plant-based chicken that it already sells in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
The round is the largest Series A raised by any plant-based-meat brand, according to PitchBook. Investors included MPL Ventures, Alpha JWC, and EDBI. Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform and GGV Capital also participated in the round.
Next Gen says it has raised $130 million to date.
With the funding round completed, Next Gen is starting to sell Tindle in the all-important US market.
“If you sum the total population of all the countries and cities where we’re present, it’s going to be 50 million,” Andre Menezes, the CEO of Next Gen, said. “The US alone is six times that.”
The California-based brands Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods both have a several-year head start on Next Gen in the US. Both introduced new chicken products, including tenders and nuggets, at US grocery stores and restaurants last year. There’s also a host of smaller companies and startups to contend with, such as Simulate and Future Farm.
But unlike some of its major US competitors, Tindle is focused, for now, on creating a chicken replacement, Menezes told Insider. Early on, the brand decided it wanted a single product that it could perfect and sell around the world.
Beef is popular in countries like the US, Argentina, and Australia with large ranching industries. Pork is the protein of choice for many people in China, but Islamic restrictions mean it’s a nonstarter in the Middle East. Chicken, meanwhile, is ubiquitous and prepared in many ways in most countries, Menezes said.
Next Gen is breaking into the US using the same basic strategy it’s used in other markets like Hong Kong, Dubai, and Singapore: Pick a handful of restaurants — from fine-dining spots to local food trucks — and get Tindle’s chicken on the menu.
Instead of getting into as many fast-food or fast-casual locations as possible — a strategy that Impossible Foods used in its early days — Next Gen picked popular restaurants in its cities, such as The Gray Dog in New York. Next Gen says it has also partnered with restaurants in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, among other cities.
“If a sandwich shop is selling a fried Tindle sandwich side by side with the best fried-chicken sandwich in the city, that tells a lot,” Menezes said.
“We need to prove that plant-based foods are not associated with compromised taste and texture experience,” he added.
Menezes said Next Gen’s approach to production was another aspect of the business that had won investors over. The company doesn’t own its own production facilities, working instead with contract manufacturers to combine “lipi,” its ingredient designed to mimic the taste of chicken, with other ingredients.
Menezes said that the approach took less investment but that, more importantly, it had allowed the company to expand to new markets quickly.
Check out the pitch deck Next Gen used for its latest funding round below.