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A team of San Francisco chemists is turning to technology to solve a global problem: producing affordable and healthy food without pillaging the land.

Hampton Creek has raised $23M to create alternative plant-based food like Just Mayo.
Hampton Creek has raised $23M to create alternative plant-based food like Just Mayo.

Hampton Creek’s first product, Just Mayo, does this by displacing the egg with plant-based proteins. It currently costs $4.49 a jar at Whole Foods and will debut at other national chains starting in April. Another product, Eat the Dough, is an egg-less cookie dough. That will launch next month for an undisclosed price. Eventually, the aim is to make products versatile enough to appeal to foodies or budget-conscious shoppers. But at nearly $5 a pop, that sounds more like a goal for the moment.

Still, the opportunity to do good and be pioneers in this greenfield had top-shelf VCs salivating at the chance to invest.

This morning, Hampton Creek announced it has raised $23 million in a second round from a wide range of investors. Leading the charge was Li Ka-shing, who is known as the wealthiest man in Asia. He contributed the vast majority — $15.5 million. Also participating were Ali and Hadi Partovi, the twin brothers bankrolling; Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang; Bill Gates via Khosla Ventures; AME Cloud Ventures, Jessica Powell of Google; Scott Banister; Ash Patel; Collaborative Fund; and Kat Taylor and Tom Steyers of Eagle Cliff. To date, Hampton Creek has received $30 million.

“We live in a time where the unhealthy choice is dirt cheap and convenient. And the healthy choice is pricey and inconvenient,” said CEO and founder Josh Tetrick, in a statement. “Our goal has always been to build a company that brings healthier and affordable food to everyone, everywhere. Solving a problem means actually solving the problem for most people – not just the folks that can afford to pay $5.99 for organic eggs.”

Tetrick co-founded Hampton Creek in 2011 after spending seven years working in Sub-Saharan Africa with the President of Liberia and the United Nations. He’s also a Fulbright Scholar and former college football player.

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