Grammy award-winning musician, producer and entrepreneur Jay-Z is now an investor in plant-based chicken company SIMULATE. The alternative meat company offers products with shapes that we will remember from our childhood including nuggets and patties. Earlier this month, SIMULATE received $50 million in the last round of funding promising great things to come.
The legendary rapper isn’t the first big name to invest in the company. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s investment fund SEVEN SEVEN SIX led the last round in which MVP Investment Group participated. Marcy Venture Partners (MVP) was created by Jay-Z, Roc Nation Director Jay Brown and venture capitalist Larry Marus has a history of investing in food and health startups such as K Health.
Simulating a Childhood Favorite
SIMULATE takes a simple and universally known concept, the chicken nugget, without one essential element: the chicken. Using plant-based ingredients to create taste and texture similar to chicken the company offers a meatless alternative with the same nugget shape.
19-year old Ben Pasternak started the company in 2018 when he set out to create a product that eliminated the need to slaughter chickens for food. But he also gave the company a modern ‘update’. The design and production of their products follows a system similar to software updates on a computer. With the help of technology, SIMULATE is able to gather information and input from customers and apply it to their products.
“Historically our food system has rejected the use of technology, resulting in a system that is highly inefficient and primitive,” Pasternak said. “This new funding will be used to create and protect the intersection of technology and nutrition.”
Update Your Chicken Nuggets
SIMULATE launched its chicken nuggets called NUGGS directly to consumers in 2019. Following input and updates, the company expanded to more than 5,000 retail locations in the U.S. These stores include Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Target, and Sam’s Club, among others. Earlier this month they also included retailers in Canada including Maxi, Loblaws, and Sobeys and plan to add at least 10,000 more locations before the end of 2021.
SIMULATE is not the first vegan-friendly company that Jay-Z has invested in. In 2019 his venture fund helped raise $300 million for Impossible Foods during a Series E funding round. Notable investors also included Serena Williams, Katy Perry, and Trevor Noah.
Later in the year MVP also led an investment round for vegan cookie brand Partake Foods which raised $1 million. Outside of MVP, Jay-Z has also invested in Oatly, another vegan brand popular for its oat milk, through his entertainment agency.
Vegan Power Duo: Jay-Z and Beyoncé
According to Vegan.com, outside Jay-Z’s vegan chicken brand, he and his wife Beyoncé have promoted a vegan lifestyle through various other projects. In preparation for her 2018 Coachella performance, Beyoncé stopped consuming animal products. Earlier in 2015, the couple partnered with nutritionist Marco Borges for the launch of 22 Days Nutrition, a vegan meal delivery company.
In 2019 the trio again promoted The Greenprint Project, which takes its name from Jay-Z’s 2001 album “The Blueprint.” This project raised awareness about a plant-based diet and featured a documentary and the book The Greenprint: Plant-Based Diet, Best Body, Better World.
It’s safe to say that for those who want to stay up to date on the latest plant-based startups and innovations, just follow Jay-Z or read more about MVP Invesment Group.