Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian backs 21-year-old Aussie’s chicken-free Nuggs business that will “overhaul” the food system
Aussie-founded chicken-free nugget startup Simulate has raised $65 million in Series B funding, from big-name backers including Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.
The round was led by Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six, and he has also joined the board of the startup.
It also included backing from NOMO Ventures, McCain Foods, Imaginary Ventures, and Day One Ventures, as well as from high-profile US VC Chris Sacca and his wife Crystal English Sacca.
Headed up by 21-year-old Aussie entrepreneur Ben Pastyernak, who also founded social networking app Monkey, Simulate brings software and tech principles to the plant-based meat market.
Its flagship Nuggs product is marketed as a chicken nugget ‘simulation’, while the new Discs chicken-burger-style product is touted as “the most advanced chicken burger on the planet”.
In a statement, Pasternak said the funding will be used to “create and protect the intersection of technology and nutrition”.
This is very much a food startup with a tech focus, and its branding plays up to this too, with the website detailing new ‘releases’ of the Nuggs code and offering product ‘support’.
“Historically our food system has rejected the use of technology, resulting in a system that is highly inefficient and primitive,” Pasternak adds.
Ohanian also highlighted the team’s commitment to “rapid product iteration and building products that can infinitely scale” as one of the main reasons behind the investment.
“The best technology companies that I’ve invested in over the past decade have operated with similar principles,” he explained.
“We’re excited to see Simulate grow into one of the highest impact nutrition companies on the planet.”
The funding will allow the business to triple its headcount, accelerate the development of new products and technologies, and scale its manufacturing capabilities.
It will also see the business ramp up its presence in retail and food service settings, and in new markets, including a launch into Canada today.
This is not the first time alternative protein products have secured funding from high-profile backers.
In fact, back in 2019 tennis legend Serena Williams — who is married to Ohanian — was among the high-profile contributors to Impossible Foods’ whopping $300 million ($432.7 million) Series E round.
That raise also included backing from the likes of Jay-Z, Katy Perry and will.i.am.