Bond Pet Foods, known for making plant-based pet treats, is focusing more on pet food applications as it leans into creating chicken, beef, fish and meat. other “nature-identical” meat proteins using precision fermentation. Last November, Bond kicked things off by announcing a partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to develop an artisanal meat protein for its product portfolio.
With this new focus, the Boulder, Colorado-based company joins a roster of incumbents focused on healthier options for our four-legged friends, including Freshpet, which launched its Spring & Sprout vegetarian dog food in last September; Maev, which develops raw human-grade dog food; Alpha Paw in Space Supplement; and Jinx, focused on own-brand dog food.
The move is backed by a $17.5 million Series A investment in June from a group of investors that includes the venture capital arm of Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, ADM Ventures, Cavallo Ventures, Genoa Ventures, Lever VC, Thia Ventures, iSelect Fund, Stage 1 Fund, Lifely VC and Satori Capital. Sia musicians Isabelle Furler and Joan Jett join us as individual investors. Prior to the Series A round, the company had raised $2.5 million to bring its total funding since 2017 to $20 million.
Bond Pet Foods was co-founded by Rich Kelleman and Pernilla Audibert and is part of a global pet food market valued at $110 billion in 2021 and expected to grow 5% annually over this decade to reach 164 billion by 2029.
The new investment will allow the company to expand its meat protein portfolio and increase production at a new 15,000 square foot facility in Boulder while tripling the size of its team, Kelleman told TechCrunch.
The company initially considered making its own brand of pet food, but decided to switch to meat proteins that other companies could use due to interest from some big food names in pets, including Hill’s, and more in the works.
“All of these global players knocked on our door and we realized that we could build a healthy business and have a greater material impact if we collaborate with established companies instead of doing it on our own,” he said. he adds. “We are really accelerating our process development work to reduce the cost of goods as well as accelerating our strain engineering work.”
The facility is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023, and Kelleman expects the initial meat proteins to be ready for commercialization in two years. This period includes pilot feeding programs to collect data that demonstrates performance, safety and efficacy as Bond works through the regulatory process.
Kelleman says Bond is on track to have the final specification for its chicken meat protein completed within the next few months. Next, it will go through feeding trials in dogs and cats, likely early next year, as it continues to work through the regulatory process and work with strategic feeding partners to pets.