Upside Foods

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Upside Foods
FormerlyMemphis Meats
TypePrivately held company
IndustryFood technology
FoundersUma Valeti
Nicholas Genovese
Will Clem

Upside Foods (formerly known as Memphis Meats) is a food technology company headquartered in Berkeley, California, aiming to grow sustainable cultured meat.[1] The company was founded in 2015 by Uma Valeti (CEO), Nicholas Genovese (CSO), and Will Clem.[2][3] Valeti was a cardiologist and a professor at the University of Minnesota.[1]

The company plans to produce various meat products using biotechnology to induce stem cells to differentiate into muscle tissue, and to manufacture the meat products in bioreactors.[1]


In February 2016, Memphis Meats published a video of a cultured meatball and in March 2017, they published a video of cultured chicken and duck dishes.[4][5][6][7] In February 2017, the company indicated its goal was to produce at 60 euros per kilogram and enter the market by 2020.[8]

In August 2017, Memphis Meats announced that it had raised a $17 million Series A funding round. The round was led by DFJ and also included investment from Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Suzy and Jack Welch, Cargill, Kimbal Musk, and Atomico.[9]

Initially, the production cost of the cultured beef was $18,000 per pound ($40,000/kg), and the production cost of the cultured poultry was $9,000 per pound ($20,000/kg).[5][10][11] As of June 2017, the company had reduced the cost of production to below $2,400 per pound ($5,280/kg).[12] The company said it anticipated cost reductions and commercial release of its products by 2021.[5][7][6]

In January 2020, Memphis Meats raised a $161 million Series B. The round was led by Softbank Group, Norwest, and Temasek. Also joining the round are new and existing investors including Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Threshold Ventures, Cargill, Tyson Foods, Finistere, Future Ventures, Kimbal Musk, Fifty Years, and CPT Capital. Memphis Meats expects to use the funds to build a pilot production facility and to hit a major milestone of launching products into the market within the coming years.[13]

In May 2021, the company announced that it was changing its name to Upside Foods.[14] In September 2021, co-founder and chief science officer Genovese, as well as process development vice president KC Carswell, left the company.[15][16]

On November 4, 2021, Upside Foods opened its first large-scale production plant, called the "Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center" (EPIC), in Emeryville, California. It covers 16,154 square meters (53,000 square feet), with renewably-powered vats and tubes, in order to produce 22,680 kilograms (50,000 pounds) of cultured meat annually, to be sold commercially.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b c Bunge, Jacob (February 2, 2016). "Sizzling Steaks May Soon Be Lab-Grown". The Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ "Upside Foods develops animal-free growth medium for cell-based meat". Food Dive. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "Why did Upside Foods fire its co-founder just weeks after his team's scientific triumph?". The Counter. December 13, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  4. ^ Gelman, Susan (February 29, 2016). "Meat Without Misery". The Common Reader. Online.
  5. ^ a b c Bunge, Jacob (March 15, 2017). "Startup Serves Up Chicken Produced From Cells in Lab". The Wall Street Journal.
  6. ^ a b Farber, Madeline (March 15, 2017). "A San Francisco Startup Is Serving Chicken That Was Made in a Lab". Fortune.
  7. ^ a b Kooser, Amanda (March 16, 2017). "This lab-grown chicken and duck meat looks surprisingly delicious". CNET.
  8. ^ Leonie Hosselet (February 6, 2017). "Van het lab naar een bord is een lange weg voor kweekvlees". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  9. ^ Sawers, Paul (August 23, 2017). "Lab-grown food startup Memphis Meats raises $17 million from DFJ, Cargill, Bill Gates, others". VentureBeat.
  10. ^ "'World's first' lab-grown meatball revealed". Fox News. February 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Addady, Michal (February 2, 2016). "You Could Be Eating Lab-Grown Meat in Just Five Years". Fortune.
  12. ^ Bunge, Jacob (August 23, 2017). "Cargill Invests in Startup That Grows 'Clean Meat' From Cells". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  13. ^ Rowland, Michael Pellman (January 22, 2020). "Memphis Meats Raises $161 Million In Funding, Aims To Bring Cell-Based Products To Consumers". Forbes.
  14. ^ "Memphis Meats Changes Name, Plans to Roll Out Lab-Grown Chicken This Year". May 12, 2021. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Reynolds, Matt. "Upside Foods Sues an Ex-Employee Over Secret Lab-Grown Meat Tech". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  16. ^ Alex Bitter (October 28, 2021). "A Memphis Meats cofounder has left the lab-grown meat company, now called Upside Foods, as skepticism about the entire industry grows". Business Insider. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  17. ^ Katie Spalding (November 8, 2021). "World's Most Advanced Lab-Grown Meat Facility Opens in California". IFLScience. LabX Media Group. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  18. ^ Brian Kateman (November 30, 2021). "11 Plant-Based and Alternative Protein Trends to Watch for in 2022". Forbes. Retrieved December 5, 2021.

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