Thursday, December 08, 2022

Hello, readers. My name is Hillel Fuld. I am originally from New York, and I have the great privilege of living in Israel.

For the past decade-and-a-half, I have been working in the Israeli technology ecosystem as a blogger, journalist, entrepreneur and marketing specialist. As I wear so many different hats, I am fortunate to meet a large number of Israeli entrepreneurs.

In this column, I will attempt to give you an inside view into everything happening in the world of Israeli innovation, and specifically, the world of food technology.

So let’s get started…

Among the many sectors and verticals in the world of tech, food tech is one of the most exciting. Interestingly, after the United States, Israel has the largest food-tech ecosystem in the world.

Many different things fall under the category of food tech including artificial sweeteners, cultured dairy products, and others. But the products that are getting the most attention are the meat alternatives like the Impossible burger and Beyond Meat, to name two popular examples.

Now, if you know me or if you follow me online, you know I’m quite the carnivore. In fact, the word “carnivore” is literally in my email signature and Twitter bio. So if anyone is picky about the taste of their meat, it’s me.

So when I tasted Redefine Meat, an Israeli company that has developed cultured meat, I had low expectations.

To my utter surprise, it was really good. Like really good.

Adam Lahav and Eshchar Ben-Shitrit started the company in 2018, and things began to accelerate after they participated in —and won—the first cohort of the EIT Food Accelerator Network in Nov 2018.

The two founders worked together as Product Managers in HP Indigo, and both left to lead product and marketing in startups.

As recent fathers they wanted to do exactly what they were doing—developing and launching great products based on groundbreaking technology, but they wanted to do it in an industry they can really be passionate about and that has an impact on the future of the planet.

Redefine Meat has developed patent-pending technology that replicates the texture, flavor and eating experience of beef and other high-value meat products. The company uses plant-based ingredients and technology as opposed to animals, allowing for a more efficient, sustainable and ethical way to produce meat without compromising on the experience.

Since that first time tasting their product, I’ve seen Redefine Meat’s product served everywhere, including high-end restaurants. Just the other day, I went out with my kids to a burger joint in Jerusalem. My eldest was raving about this place so we had to try it.

Anyway, we arrived at the place and went to order through one of those machines that automates the process, and right under the burger option was the Redefine Meat option. I was tempted, as was my wife, but since we came there to taste the burger, we stuck with that.

What’s amazing to see is how Redefine Meat has made its way into the menus of so many restaurants.

The name of the game here is to develop a product that tastes as close to real meat as possible. I’ve tried a few of them and let me tell you, from my perspective, Redefine Meat is far ahead of the competition.

So let’s dive a little deeper into this remarkable company.

Redefine Meat has a very specific mission. “We believe that the world deserves a New-Meat™, a plant-based meat that’s not only good for the environment but is also kind to animals. With its taste, texture, and aroma, Redefine Meat’s New-Meat™ delivers an uncompromising and extraordinary culinary experience.”

Unlike other alternative meat companies, Redefine can apply its technology to any kind of meat, from burgers to steaks to brisket. Anything a butcher can make, Redefine can make.

The company has recently passed a milestone of 250 employees.

Here’s the thing, though. This company isn’t only doing good for the environment. The company is “Doing well by doing good.”

The company has raised $170 million and also received generous support from the Israel Innovation Authority in every stage of the company’s journey.

According to Eshchar, they have had a lot of luck being surrounded by investors who believe in the vision.

Their largest investors are Hanaco, which they define as “the best tech VC [venture capital] in Israel,” and CPT Capital, “the most active and most supportive investor in Alt-Protein.”

In addition, they have the support of Happiness Capital, which is a big believer in making the world a happier place; Synthesis Capital, the largest and most advanced Alt-Meat VC; and many other great teams and individuals.

The company’s latest round of financing is one of the largest investments by an alternative meat company in Israel. The goal is to develop plant-based meat, including use of 3D printing.

Speaking of Israel, the company’s products are available in hundreds of restaurants across the country.

Redefine Meat also provides products to the canteens of tech giants Facebook, Google and Apple, and its plant-based meat can be found in restaurants in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, including in the restaurant chain of Michelin chef Marco Pierre White and the restaurants of Ron Blau and Joachim Gruner.

What is also interesting is that the company defines its target audience as people like me, aka meat enthusiasts.

As far as company growth, over the past year-and-a-half, the Redefine Meat team has grown significantly.

Redefine Meat co-founder and CEO Ben-Shitrit said: “We see ourselves as a meat company, and plan to become the world’s biggest meat company. We invest in differentiated technology that allows us to develop better quality products like using additive manufacturing to create a steak.

“But more than that, we invest in building a world-leading brand, supply chain and distribution network—that will allow us not only to be a great tech company, but to take full potential of the massive opportunity of displacing animal with technology—which at the end of the day all comes down to people eating our products.

“We developed, and launched, the world’s most advanced ‘Plant-Based Meat’ range, after going from idea to technology to patents to scale-up to launch. Now we are positioned not only to grow in sales, but also to develop new and better technologies and products based on market knowledge, as well as have a simple way of launching these to the market.

“As far as we know, no other company has put such a big bet on becoming ‘a New-Meat Company’.”

Eshchar grew up in Kibbutz Tzora and Beit Shemesh. He was in intelligence units in the army, then studied Law and got his MBA. He worked for 18 months in the Israeli Supreme Court. He is the father of three boys.

Hillel Fuld, named Israel’s top marketer and “The man transforming Startup Nation to Scale-up Nation” by Forbes, is a tech journalist, startup marketer and technology expert. Hillel works with technology companies and accompanies them from idea to revenue. He also works with many leading tech brands as an influencer. Hillel was recently named the seventh most influential tech blogger on the internet, and among the top 100 most influential social media personalities across the globe. Hillel also speaks publicly on various topics including marketing, entrepreneurship, Israeli tech, and his personal story and business philosophy. He has a tech vlog (https://youtube.com/c/HillelFuld) and a podcast (https://www.bootstrappod.com) that cover tech news in general, and Israeli innovation in particular. What Hillel is most proud of is his family, including his wife, Racheli, and his five amazing kids. He also takes pride that he has used his extensive network to help hundreds of people get jobs in the Israeli tech ecosystem. You can read more about Hillel’s work on his website at https://www.hillelfuld.com.

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