Why We Invested In Harvest B

July 30, 2021
Eric Chan
Co-Founder & Partner

In 2050, the world will need to feed 9.7 billion people without killing the planet.

At Aura Ventures, we believe it is imperative to act on this and potentially economically reward for those that rise to the challenge. This belief recently led us to the team at Harvest B and today we're proud to announce that we have co-led a A$4.5m Pre-Seed investment round into Harvest B alongside W23, Woolworth's venture capital arm. Founded in 2020, Harvest B is developing the world's first meat ingredients system purpose-built for plant-based foods. Their mission is a critical one and we're excited to support Kristi Riordan and Alfred Lo in their journey.

global greenhouse gas emissions from food production 2018
Source: Ourworldindata.org

What’s the problem?

Unless you have just woken up in a time capsule from the past, it is no secret that the way the world is being fed is unsustainable.

With 14%1 of greenhouse gas emissions caused by livestock and its related activities (e.g. land use, animal feed and production), animal agriculture is undeniably a contributor to climate change. The global meat production market is forecasted to double by 2050 driven by demand forces such as population growth, urbanization, and a rising global middle class. But even then, it is estimated that the growth in meat consumption will outpace supply.

So the problem is simple. How do we prepare to feed the 9.7 billion people of tomorrow with today's knowledge of increasing demand for food and a food production system that is already near capacity whilst avoiding killing the planet?

Feeding 9.7 Billion People in 2050

We believe that addressing this "perfect storm" will require both a more sustainable production of existing sources (e.g. livestock) and the development of alternative protein sources for human consumption. As a result, a market for plant-based proteins has emerged from the desire to create a sustainable alternative to conventional animal-based proteins.

Plants are expected to be the largest source of alternative protein due to their limited environmental impact and health perception by consumers. By shifting our diets towards plant-based proteins we can drastically reduce our carbon footprint, free up global cropland, decrease soil erosion, relieve pressure on the world’s water supply, and ensure the risk of zoonotic and antibiotic-resistant pathogens are manageable.

Changing consumption patterns take time. Well-established production and supply systems as well as embedded consumer routines and practices act as inertial forces.

The good news is that this change is happening. We've come a long way from the veggie burger with vertically integrated operations such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods leading the second wave of the alternate meat revolution. And in the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new plant-based meat alternatives providing consumers with an increased freedom of choice.

alternative meat brands

However, where we have identified the innovative white space in this emerging industry is mid-stream. Due to the nascent state of the industry, R&D across the value chain has predominantly occurred within vertically integrated operations. Hence, the recent explosion of brand manufacturers has brought on major supply chain issues and poor-quality products made from inferior and inadequate ingredient systems.

The industry’s progress towards producing 10x better and 10x cheaper products to animal meat is critical to realising a total addressable market of every single person on the planet and a lifetime value of a human lifetime. The major technological hurdles to achieving this are primarily ones of scale. Therefore, we believe horizontal players specialising in specific parts of the value chain are integral to scaling the technical capabilities of the industry and ultimately to the plant-based industry’s success.

Enter Harvest B

Harvest B's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to a sustainable food system. By combining food science and advanced manufacturing technologies, Harvest B plans to develop a naturally derived and sustainably produced plant-based meat ingredient system that enables superior taste and health benefits. Thus, by taking on the technical complexities of plant-based meat to build a specialised supply chain, the hope is to help brands bridge the gap with animal-based meat products.

Ultimately, Harvest B will enable food manufacturers and brands to focus on what they're good at while reducing the capital, expertise, and time required to make great plant-based meat products!


[1] https://ourworldindata.org/food-ghg-emissions (Nov 2019), and Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science, 360(6392), 987-992