An Australian lab-based meat company has secured US$6 million in seed funding.

Cell-based meat company Vow Foods secured the funding round with backing from Mike and Annie Cannon-Brookes’ investing arm, Grok Ventures.

The Sydney-based startup uses animal cells to produce traditional meat like pork and chicken, as well as alpaca, water buffalo, and even one of Australia’s most iconic animals: the kangaroo.

In 2019, the company made kangaroo dumplings - the first time a food product had been made from the cells of an undomesticated animal. 

It now offers products made from the cells of 11 different animals.

The company has grown from five to 22 employees and is working on a state-of-the-art food design studio and lab in Sydney. 

With the US$6 million in seed funding, the company says it can work on “outperforming meat”, rather than replacing it.

“We believe that the only way to change the behaviour of billions of people is to make many products that are simply better than what we have today,” Vow co-founder Tim Noakesmith says.

“This latest round of investment allows us to focus on the culinary opportunity and make food that really excites people. It’s a bonus to know that these are the same foods that will allow us to live in harmony with our planet and move away from the climate emergency associated with our current food systems.”

The sale of cultured meat was approved in Singapore in December.

Vow co-founder and CEO George Peppou says cultured meat “will soon be mainstream”.

“This is about so much more than an alternative to animal agriculture, it’s about a category of products totally distinct from, and better than, what animals are capable of producing,” he said.

Several other Australian companies are also producing meat from alternative sources, including v2food, Fable and Proform Foods making plant-based meat.