Temasek leads $140m Series C for animal-free dairy producer

Perfect Day uses fermentation to create animal-free dairy products such as cheese and ice cream to overcome dietary and sustainability challenges.

Animal-free dairy products producer Perfect Day has secured $140 million in a Series C funding round led by Temasek.

The start-up is attempting to develop a commercially scalable method for producing products such as yoghurt, cheese and ice cream without using any animal dairy.

Capital from the funding round will be used to expand Perfect Day’s production capacity and extend its product portfolio.

In order to produce its animal-free products, the company isolates what it describes as “milk’s essential genes” and adds them to microflora – naturally occurring organisms that can produce large quantities of protein.

This “dairy flora” is then fermented to convert plant sugar into the milk proteins whey and casein, and arrive at a protein that is “nutritionally identical” to cow’s milk.

Perfect Day co-founder Perumal Gandhi told Agri Investor: “We expect that, at scale, animal-free dairy protein will perform considerably better than conventional dairy on land, water, energy and emissions indicators.

“We’re currently exploring options to quantify our carbon footprint, and we’re looking forward to putting numbers around that.”

The Series C brings Perfect Day’s cumulative funding to more than $200 million. Temasek was joined in the round by Horizons Ventures. Both firms were also part of the dairy alternative’s $24.7 million Series A in March 2018.

Perfect Day is gearing up to enter the consumer market through commercial partnerships with established brands. The first of these is expected to be completed in “early 2020.”

“In 2019, we showed that our manufacturing process works robustly at commercial scale,” co-founder Ryan Pandya said in a statement. “We were able to demonstrate with our ice cream launch – which sold out in a single day – that flora-based protein delivers on the dairy experience, and that people are excited about what we’re doing.

“Our focus in 2020 will be manufacturing and commercializing the protein in multiple continents, through multiple partnerships spanning different dairy product categories.”