MercadoLibre owner enters the vegan mayonnaise business

The Chilean startup notco has consolidated itself as one of the most valuable foodtech of the moment. In mid-December, the company announced that it had closed $70 million in new funding under a Series D expansion.

Led by Princeville Capital, an investment firm focused on supporting fast-growing technology companies around the world, the Series D expansion includes top-tier investors such as Jeff BezosTiger Global, L Catterton, Kaszek Ventures, Future Positive and The Craftory.

In addition, among the new investors is Marcos Galperin, founder and executive director of MercadoLibre. The new round of funding was completed at the same value as Series D round shares in July 2021, reaffirming NotCo’s valuation of $1.5 trillion.

Notco produces plant-based foods

NotCo is a leading food technology company, which has launched products such as NotMilk, NotBurger, NotMeat, NotIceCream, NotChicken and NotMayo in countries including the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. In 2015, one of its founders and current CEO, Matthias MuchnickHe was a graduate student at Harvard and worried that food was harming the planet.

The idea of ​​linking vegetables to sustainability and innovation was born. A friend contacted him Karim Pitchara (current CTO), who developed algorithms to analyze the composition of stars. At the same time, an acquaintance who worked at the JAR recommended from Pablo Zamoraexpert in plant genomics. The three of them teamed up and created NotCo.

Once the team was formed, they developed a algorithm whom they called Giuseppe. Using this artificial intelligence, NotCo analyzes food at the structural level and then creates combinations of plants that manage to mimic the product in terms of taste, texture, smell and nutritional information.to make them identical.

The first product of foodtech Notco was the notMay

Technology has the ability to recreate the same animal-based food experience, using only plant-based ingredients. “Artificial intelligence is one of the company’s greatest strengths,” says Matías Latugaye, country manager for Argentina at NotCo.

In 2019, the startup caught the attention of the international tech community when it became First investment of Bezos Expedition in Latin America. Since then, NotCo has embarked on an upward trajectory, transforming the food industry and plant-based segment, forming international partnerships with Burger King, Shake Shack, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, and attracting celebrity investors such as Roger Federer, Lewis Hamilton and Questlove.

The first product was notMay. This mayonnaise has managed to assimilate all the sensory characteristics of traditional mayonnaise, but with a lasting and healthy imprint.

Notco’s strategy targets two business units

“Today, NotCo’s strategy is geared towards two business units. The first concerns the retail sale of products through retailers or chains such as Burger King, Mostaza or Freddo. The second unit, which is the one we are going to develop with the new funding, is geared towards BTB. NotCo makes its technology available to food and beverage companies looking to create the best possible and scalable plant-based products,” says Latugaye.

The second business unit began to develop in February 2021, when it announced the creation of a joint venture with the multinational The Kraft Heinz Company. “We worked with NotCo’s technology to develop much of their joint, but plant-based product portfolio. From there, great interest arose in many companies around the world to replicate the experience” , explains Latugaye.

In collaboration with Kraft Heinz, they are carrying out a pilot test with three types of cheese in 30 branches of a distribution chain in the United States. In the first half of 2023, the intention is to distribute nationwide. At the same time, they are developing a mayonnaise, which will be launched in the coming months.

By 2023, the goal is to continue to grow and launch new products

“Traditional companies in the sector call on us to be able to develop products together. They are convinced that we can develop their herbal products much faster,” says Latugaye.

Notco in Argentina

NotCo is present in Argentina since the end of 2019 and has a team in the country which is approximately 60 people. Locally, recently released cheeses and NotChicken. In January, the intention is to launch cream cheese and dulce de leche.

“In 2022, we were on the verge of doubling the activity. We launched a lot of products in the market, there was a lot of geographic expansion and we opened the company’s first pop-up store in Buenos Aires,” says Latugaye.

And regarding the waiting by 2023, he adds: “We expect a very significant growth for the next year. We come with 2X or 3X growth. This is also what we are aiming for in 2023.”

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