A new accelerator is sinking its teeth into lab-grown and plant-based meat.
CLEAN MEAT. When it comes to betting on startups, Y Combinator knows how to pick some winners. Since it launched in 2005, the accelerator has provided seed funding and advice to several companies that went on to become household names, including Airbnb, Reddit, and Dropbox.
Now, the company is ready to sink its teeth into a new challenge: help make plant-based and clean meat — edible protein grown from animal stem cells — mainstream.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE STARTUP. On Wednesday, Y Combinator hosted the second day of demos for its Summer 2018 startups, and one of those, the Good Food Institute (GFI), was pretty unique. It's not a company per se — GFI is a nonprofit think tank that will itself act as an accelerator for startups in the plant-based and clean meat sector. It's basically accelerator inception.
GFI has its hands in pretty much anything that has to do with clean meat. It's working with colleges to design clean meat-focused curriculums, launching a conference on the subject, and funding open-source research so that startups in the space can learn from each other's work.
GFI also lobbies government organizations and traditional meat manufacturers to secure funding for clean meat startups. The institute has even launched three startups of its own.
A POWERFUL PARTNER. GFI is hopeful that the partnership with Y Combinator will help bring attention to both its startups and the industry as a whole. Y Combinator, meanwhile, simply sees clean meat as the future.
“YC got interested in [clean meat] because of the innovation in this industry,” Gustaf Alstromer, a partner at Y Combinator, told Fast Company. "We think that if it works, this will revolutionize the entire meat industry, and we think that it will probably be entrepreneurs and startups that build the companies that produce that meat.”
As we've seen in the past, Y Combinator has a pretty solid track record of detecting industry trends, so if its decision to back GFI is any indication, we're probably going to see a lot more clean meat in the future.
READ MORE: Y Combinator Is Funding a Nonprofit That Advocates for Meat Alternatives [Fast Company]
More on clean meat: In the Future, the Meat You Eat Won’t Come From Living Organisms