Photo: Gelatex founders Mari-Ann Meigo-Fonseca and Märt-Erik Martens
Estonia-based Gelatex recently raised €1.2 million in a round of funding led by EstVCA member Change Ventures and Crosslight Partners. The company plans to use the capital raised to further develop its technology to make cell-cultured meat more affordable.
Gelatex claims to have found a way that reduces the cost of production involved in manufacturing cell-cultured meat by 90%.
Though the cultured meat sector has yet to scale in most countries — only Singapore has started selling cultured meat commercially — investors say it’s only a matter of time. Digital Food Lab estimates that by 2040, cultured meat will make up 35% of global meat production while its market size is poised to climb to $248m by 2026, up from $103m in 2020. Märt-Erik Martens
, CEO of Gelatex, said that the idea came after finding that there was no market for purchasing nanofibre materials — a component used to grow cultured meat that is notoriously expensive — in large quantities and at low cost.
This led him to set up his own production technology to produce nanofibres. Gelatex then pivoted the business a year ago to offer its nanofibres to other companies.
“Currently, one kilogram of scaffolding material costs about €100k. Today, because of our technology, we are able to produce nanofibrous scaffolds at a price of less than €1k,” says Martens. Gelatex estimates that its price will continue to drop to €20 in around 10 years, which is “less than €1 of scaffold per kg of meat”.
The cost-effectiveness of producing nanofibres was a huge factor in Gelatex’s choice over other more expensive fiber production methods for cultured meat, such as electrospinning or 3D printing.
**Photo credit: Gelatex; https://unsplash.com/@fredmarriage