San Francisco-based food tech startup Perfect Day announced it had completed a $300 million Series C funding round.
Previously, the company raised $140 million for its Series C in December 2019 in a round led by Temasek Holdings. The extension of the Series V was led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP).
It was the first investment for CPP through its Thematic Investing division that focuses on sustainable companies fighting against the climate crisis.
“Sustainable technologies like Perfect Day are poised to capture structural shifts in industrial practices, physical resources, and consumer preferences for environmentally conscious options, which are well-suited to our long term investing approach,” Leon Pedersen, Managing Director, Head of Thematic Investing at CPP, said.
Perfect Day was founded by two biomedical engineers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi. The company produces dairy proteins but without the involvement of animals. Instead, they are using biotechnology and fermentation.
The company takes milk’s genes and adds them to yeast-based microflora. Then the flora uses fermentation to convert the plant sugar into whey and casein. This kind of protein can be used for dairy alternatives such as ice cream, cheese and butter.
Perfect Day’s products are lactose-free, hormone-free and vegan.
In 2019 Perfect Day launched a limited batch of vegan ice cream which, despite its high price tag, sold out within one day.
Perfect Day’s production process is flexible and doesn’t involve animals, so it can avoid common supply issues caused by Covid-19 pandemic. It can increase and decrease production to keep up with demand.
"The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how fragile our food system is. We’re committed to building real change that prioritizes diversity, agility, and resilience,” Pandya said.
The company was able to double the production of its animal-free protein and received a coveted Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status from the United States Food and Drug Administration.
“We never doubted we’d reach this point; we just didn’t expect to get here so quickly,” Pandya said. “And, thanks to our world-class team and investors, we’re not planning to take our foot off the pedal anytime soon."
Perfect Day plans to partner with existing companies that can use their proteins to make vegan dairy-free products. It also plans to start a network of local animal-free dairy protein producers. The first commercial business partner, artisan ice cream chain Smitten Ice Cream is using Perfect Day’s flora base, to create a line of vegan Smitten N’Ice Cream.
“We’re grateful for the continued support of our investors from all over the world,” Gandhi said. “But, of course, our mission is about much more than money. We continue to believe the next generation of protein will be driven by production speed, price, and taste, and we’ll have several exciting updates to share in the months ahead as our commercial partners start to build momentum.”