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NotCo had already landed in the U.S. during 2020, due in part to a highly publicized investment by Jeff Bezos’ fund. It is scaling up in 2021, launching in more than 400 stores in the country.
It is becoming more and more common to see vegetarian or vegan options when ordering from a restaurant menu. Even plant-based products have become more visible on supermarket shelves.
And it is precisely the plant-based products market that is becoming more relevant in Latin America and the United States. Approximately 8% of both countries’ population identifies as vegetarian, vegan, or flexible, according to Statista and GALLUP.
NotCo is one of the startups leveraging on the plant-based trend. This foodtech reached unicorn status last July when it raised $235 million in a Series D round led by Tiger Global, in which world-class athletes Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer also participated.
As of this writing, the Chilean foodtech has raised a total of $360 million, according to Crunchbase, valuing it at $1.5 billion. Its investors also include Endeavor Catalyst, Kaszek, musician Questlove, Zoma Capital, Bezos Expeditions, and Danny Meyer, the founder of the Shake Shack chain.
NotCo goes beyond Latin America
With this capital, the founders of NotCo –Matias Muchnick, Pablo Zamora, and Karim Pichara– saw a broader outlook for their company. Thus, in early September it reached more stores in the United States through Stop & Shop, one of the largest food chains in the country with 400 stores.
NotCo had already touched North American territory in 2020 when its products reached more than 3,000 stores, among which Whole Foods stands out. This was related to Jeff Bezos’ investment in the company through his firm Bezos Expeditions.
Foodtech is expanding at a key moment for the U.S., as plant-based retail sales are growing: in 2020, they increased 27%, reaching $7 billion, according to the Plant-Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute (GFI).
The key of success
“Why not” are among the first words you come across when you open NotCo’s website, and it was precisely this question that prompted the founders of the Chilean foodtech to “take the animal out of food”, and create plant-based products to reduce the impact on the environment.
To achieve this, they’ve developed their proprietary AI, Giuseppe. NotCo describes Giuseppe as an algorithm with the ability to find combinations of plants, replicate animal products, and make them more sustainable and richer; all quickly and accurately.
NotCo already has a presence in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States. However, new investments have led the Chilean foodtech to scale and now has its sights set on Canada, Europe, and Asia.