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Danny Meyer backs a plant-based food creator

NotCo uses artificial intelligence to develop vegan foods that closely replicate milk, ice cream, hamburger and more.
Photo courtesy NotCo

Danny Meyer’s prolific investment fund has a new recipient: A food-tech company that uses artificial intelligence to create plant-based foods that mimic their meaty counterparts.

The funding from Meyer-backed Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI), as well as wisdom from the restaurateur, will help NotCo expand its footprint into U.S. foodservice as well as category innovation in Latin America, the company said in a statement.

Details of the investment were not disclosed.

NotCo’s AI technology allows it to create plant-based foods that “taste, cook and behave just like their animal-based counterparts,” the company said in a statement.

The company, which was founded in Chile five years ago, sells its NotMilk, NotBurger, NotIceCream and NotMayo in several countries. It launched NotMilk in the U.S. several months ago and has the product in more than 3,000 Whole Foods Market stores.

The firm uses proprietary AI technology, which it has dubbed Giuseppe, to match animal proteins to their closest replacements among thousands of plant-based options.

About a week ago, EHI announced it led a $21.5 million funding round for workforce technology company 7shifts. Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USGH) has used the scheduling and communication platform in its restaurants.

EHI has previously invested in companies such as Goldbelly, Banza, Clear, Resy, ice cream concept Salt & Straw and fast-casual chain Dig.

Other investors in NotCo include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and private equity firm L Catterton. NotCo has raised more than $130 million since its founding and said it is on track to have a valuation of $1 billion by the end of the year.

“Our goal is to accelerate rapid advancement of science driven plant-based alternatives that consumers will readily adopt, and EHI’s and Danny’s vast industry expertise will help solidify mainstream validation of our technology, especially within food service,” Matias Muchnick, the company’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with them in this next phase of NotCo’s U.S. and global expansion and multi-category innovation.”

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