Alternative protein is eating the food industry

Plant-based alternative protein milkshake by Grounded — a Lever VC portfolio company.

“Mindfulness” has permeated global culture in countless ways, in the food sector Millennial consumers increasingly base their choice of what foods and brands to consume on sustainability, health and ethical considerations, and demand a conscious mindset towards food production and consumption. As a result, eating habits are undergoing profound change, disrupting the whole food industry and value chain. As we move into the next decade, conventional animal-based protein sources are steadily being displaced by the rise of plant-based meat, eggs and diary products, proliferated by recent food innovations. Innovative plant-based products are made from plant ingredients formulated to replicate the taste, texture and other attributes of conventional products that consumers love. In the case of cultivated meat, eggs and dairy, the products are molecularly identical to the conventional versions but are produced from animal cells or fermentation, without the need for live animals.

"73 percent of millennials and members of Generation Z reported purchasing a dairy-free alternative in the past 12 months."

— McKinsey 2018 Dairy Survey

Nick Cooney — Founder of Lever VC

Nick founded Lever VC to be the first sector-specialist fund investing globally in the alternative protein space. Lever VC invests in early-stage alternative protein innovators  and is regarded as a leading fund in the space and its Partners as thought leaders in the field, with a portfolio that includes the likes of Better Meat Co, Good Planet Foods and Avant Meats.

Lever VC’s team has deep experience investing in alternative protein across over 40 deals, including early investments in top plant-based brands like Beyond Meat ($6 billion market cap) and Impossible Foods (valued at $5 billion) and two of the most highly-valued cultivated meat companies (Memphis Meats, Geltor). Between 2015 and 2018 (prior to launching Lever VC) the Fund’s principal Partners executed 35 family office vehicle investments in the alternative protein space, with stellar returns. The fund offers a deep bench of industry, commercial and technical expertise across staff Venture Partners and Advisors. Lever VC has built an ecosystem of renowned experts in the field assisting with deal origination, due diligence and portfolio such as  Ronen Bar (former VP of clean meat company SuperMeat), Biren Doshi (Co-Founder and Director of EuroBev/Next Foods) and Eder Brambilla (former manager of Global New Business and Ventures for JBS).

"We expect the plant-based meat market to expand from USD 4.6bn in 2018 to USD 85bn at the end of the next decade."

­— UBS

Allergen-free plant protein by the The Better Meat Co. — a Lever VC portfolio company.

Just like Nick, we strongly believe alternative proteins will positively impact consumers and promote the welfare of animals, and that growth of the sector will be vital to the preservation of natural resources and tackling climate change, in the long-run greatly benefitting the planet as a whole. We are working with Nick to empower his vision and position Lever VC as a key player in helping innovative startups in the space grow, through funding as well as assisting investments with Lever VC’s deep expertise and world-class network of advisors to supercharge growth.


By empowering innovators in the alternative protein space, Nick and Lever VC are helping to progress society in a positive direction by changing what’s on our plate.