Beyond Meat, the L.A.-based food startup that makes burgers made entirely from plants, just raised a large new round of funding from Chicago VC firms.
Beyond Meat announced Thursday that it has raised $55 million in a new funding round led by Chicago’s Cleveland Avenue, a venture firm founded by former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson. Joining the round was Tyson Foods, which announced last year that it was launching a $150 million venture fund that would be based in Chicago.
Beyond Meat, which makes a burger designed to taste like cow but is made only from plants, said it would use the new funding to more than triple the size of its production footprint. The company’s burgers are currently sold in more than 5,000 stores, including grocery chains Kroger and Albertsons. Beyond Meat has also been added to menus at nearly 4,000 restaurants, hotels and college campus dining halls. It’s planning to roll out to all TGI Fridays restaurants in 2018.
Beyond Meat previously raised $90 million in VC funding, attracting a who’s-who of notable investors, including Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Thomas Middleditch.
“We see Beyond Meat as a strategic and compelling consumer-focused investment,” Thompson said in a news release. “Customer response to Beyond Meat’s great-tasting products has driven its growth, and we’re excited about our investment as the brand continues to innovate for the future.”
What’s noteworthy for Chicago startups: As the city’s food startup scene continues to grow, there are investors in their backyard capable of cutting sizable checks.