Lab-grown meat producer Memphis Meats raises $161 million in funding led by SoftBank

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

(Reuters) - Lab-grown meat producer Memphis Meats said on Wednesday it raised $161 million in a funding round led by Japan's SoftBank Group 9984.T, Singapore's wealth fund Temasek Holdings and Norwest Venture Partners.

The company said here the latest round took total funding to over $180 million and drew investment from new and existing investors such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and meat producer Tyson Foods TSN.N.

The company did not disclose the valuation at which the funding was made.

Memphis Meats makes its products from animal cells in labs, differing from companies like Beyond Meat BYND.O and Impossible Foods, which develop their meat alternatives from plant-based proteins.

Berkley, California-based Memphis Meats said it would use the funds to build a pilot production facility and launch new products.

Plant-based meat and other meat alternatives are soaring in popularity, with millennials and Gen Z consumers increasingly shunning beef, poultry and pork for environmental and health reasons.

Beyond Meat shares have risen five-fold from their May IPO price and the company has benefited from partnering with Subway and McDonald's MCD.N. Rival Impossible Foods has tied up with Burger King QSR.TO and White Castle.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel