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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Indian American Bioengineers Making Milk Protein Without Cows Raise $350 Million

Perfect Day, Inc., a California-based startup making dairy protein without animals, yesterday announced that it has raised $350 million in a Series D funding round co-led by Temasek and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments).

Other investors such as Horizons Ventures and Bob Iger, as well as SK, Inc. also participated in the round, bringing Perfect Day’s total funding up to $750 million.

Founded in 2014 by bioengineers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, Perfect Day unveiled its flagship product – the world’s first precision-fermented protein – in 2020. Instead of relying on cows, Perfect Day utilizes microflora to create proprietary animal-free milk protein.

The company intends to use the newly raised funds to fuel the company’s expanded focus across biological engineering, ingredient innovation, and consumer products.

“When we first started this almost eight years ago, we had the simple goal of creating a way to make dairy without animals,” explained Ryan Pandya, co-founder and CEO. “We quickly realized that we could maximize our positive impact for the planet and the global food system by applying our technology and know-how across the supply chain.”

In 2016, the company expanded into B2B supply chain innovation, selling protein to food companies; and in 2019, the founders forayed into consumer products through The Urgent Company (TUC), which is now a part of the Perfect Day umbrella.

In mid-2020, Perfect Day added SBF, Inc., a bioprocess scale-up facility located in Utah, US, to the corporate portfolio.

Enterprise Biology

In addition to ingredient innovation and consumer products, the company is now planning to expand its offerings into “enterprise biology,” providing technology development services for companies looking to harness the sustainability and scale that Perfect Day has proven it can deliver.

“We first got into the ingredient business because food companies, big and small, were eager to work with the ingredients we had successfully scaled,” said Perumal Gandhi, Perfect Day co-founder. “Today, something analogous is happening on the technology side. There are innovators all over the world with ideas and ambitions similar to our animal-free milk protein, but need help getting there. We’re standing up business models to be able to share our demonstrated capabilities in a way that maximizes upsides for all, yet ensures that Perfect Day remains at the forefront of our new industry.”

According to a company statement, SBF, Perfect Day’s “enterprise biology” business, is already profitable with a strong roster of customers.

TUC’s first brand, Brave Robot, is selling its plant-based ice cream in over 5,000 grocery stores across the United States. Building upon this success, Perfect Day is further investing in TUC with the launch of its next brand, Modern Kitchen. Soon to offer a range of household dairy staples, Modern Kitchen will debut animal-free cream cheese to select stores in the months ahead.

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