SoftBank co-led a series B round for the cell-based meat developer that included Cargill and Tyson Foods, with the cash to go to a pilot manufacturing facility.

US-based cellular meat developer Memphis Meats completed a $161m series B round yesterday that was co-led by internet and telecommunications group SoftBank.

Venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners and Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek co-led the round, which included agribusiness Cargill and meat product supplier Tyson Foods.

The round was filled out by backers including Threshold Ventures, Finistere, Future Ventures, Fifty Years, CPT Capital and individual investors Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Kimbal Musk.

Memphis is developing meat that is generated directly from cells, having released a cell-based meatball in 2016 and cell-based chicken the following year. The cash will fund the addition of more products as well as hiring and the construction of a pilot production plant.

Elizabeth Gutschenritter, managing director of the alternative protein team at Cargill, said: “To meet the growing global demand for protein, it will take all of us working together – we need both animal and cell-based.

“Our continued investment in Memphis Meats underscores our inclusive approach to the future of meat. We need all options on the table to meet customer and consumer needs now and in the future.”

The company said it has now raised $180m altogether, which would suggest the investment made by Tyson in early 2018 through its Tyson Ventures unit was rolled into the series B round.

Memphis completed a $2.8m seed round in 2016 that included SOSV and New Crop Capital, and added $17m in a series A round backed by Cargill, Threshold Ventures (then known as DFJ), Atomico, Bill Gates and Richard Branson the following year.