Wild Earth To Accelerate No-Meat Food For Dogs With New Funding Round

By Annie Baker ● June 7, 2019
  • Wild Earth is a company that is transforming the pet food industry with biotech
  • Recently, Wild Earth raised $11 million in Series A led by VegInvest
  • Mark Cuban via Radical Investments, Felicis Ventures, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and Mars Petcare also joined this round

Wild Earth is a startup company that is transforming the pet food industry with biotechnology. Recently, Wild Earth raised $11 million in Series A funding led by VegInvest, which is a venture firm that supports early-stage companies that are striving to replace the use of animals in the food system along with other industries.

This is the second time that VegInvest invested in Wild Earth. Some of Wild Earth’s other investors include Mark Cuban via Radical Investments, Felicis Ventures, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and Mars Petcare. A number of global investors also joined this round including Shanghai-based Bits x Bites, Hong Kong-based VECTR, and Berlin-based P.O.V. Including this round, Wild Earth has raised $16 million total.

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This funding round will be used for accelerating Wild Earth’s development of no-meat food for dogs that is made from an eco-friendly and renewably sourced fungi, a complete protein that contains all ten essential amino acids. And Wild Earth is expecting the dry kibble formula to become available in the second half of the year.

Wild Earth also said it is moving into a new headquarters location in Southwest Berkeley at Outermost House and is significantly expanding its R&D and business facilities. Outermost House is located in a historic space of a former chocolate factory envisioned by VegInvest in 2017 as a hub for vegan food tech companies.

“Wild Earth and VegInvest share a foundation of values and innovation in this effort to achieve a food system that works better for people, the planet, and animals,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “Their experience helping future-of-food companies reach the market will absolutely increase our timeline for commercial availability of our dog food with fungi protein.”

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Wild Earth’s fungi-based products require fewer resources than farming animals for producing the same nutritional value. And in addition to a complete protein without animal ingredients, the veterinarian-developed formula also offers omega fatty acids, digestion-boosting enzymes, and prebiotics to support gastrointestinal microbiomes.

“Given the shocking amount of animal farming required for pet food, and the environmental strain caused by feeding companion animals, Wild Earth represents an important component of a more sustainable and humane food system,” added VegInvest managing director Amy Trakinski — who is joining Wild Earth’s board of directors. “We’re investing in Wild Earth not only to impact this market but because Ryan and his team can provide valuable leadership to other companies in the plant-based innovation space.”

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About 25% to 30% of meat’s environmental impact in the U.S. is attributed to pet food. And Wild Earth believes its Koji protein is necessary in order to sustainably feed the more than a billion pets expected by 2050. And a recent study by PLOS revealed that 35% of pet parents would be willing to feed a vegan diet that meets the nutritional needs of their pets.

Wild Earth’s treats are available at WildEarth.com, Amazon.com, PupJoy.com, certain brick-and-mortar retail stores, and wholesale to pet food retailers. And Wild Earth was founded by pioneers in cellular agriculture and is led by CEO Bethencourt, chief scientist Ron Shigeta, and Dr. Ernie Ward.