Plant-Based Investments Get GCC Boost From KBW Ventures Founder Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed
You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
A few short months ago, the words “plant-based investments” probably wouldn’t have rung many bells in the larger business community. Shrugged off by many traditional investors, VCs in Silicon Valley disagreed– many of whom have now gone all-in to play the “long-game.”
In the MENA region, KBW Ventures founder HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud was the first venture capitalist backer of plant-based companies.
“Early on, whenever I said anything about the potential of plant-based business models, I could see that no one really knew what I was talking about, and how huge the market really is," Prince Khaled said. "I’ve discussed a few of these startups here in regional meetings, and there wasn’t significant interest, or even real consideration of the businesses."
However, things have changed since Beyond Meat went public. Following Beyond Meat’s successful IPO, traditional investors are taking note that they’re now joining the impressive early-adopter list, which includes Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
The first-ever plant-based product company to list on Nasdaq, CNBC reported that Beyond Meat surged 163%, calling it “the best IPO so far in 2019.” The hugely successful IPO positioned the company’s market value at US$3.77 billion; leading pundits to declare that despite it being a food company, it was getting the “tech valuation” treatment.
"After Beyond Meat made global headlines, I’ve got people asking how to get in early with other plant-based business models," Prince Khaled noted. "This is an amazing shift in thinking from a business perspective, and from an environmental perspective."
Prince Khaled will be joining VCs from Stray Dog Capital and New Crop Capital at sf.citi’s Future of Food 2.0 to discuss plant-based investment strategies in July 2019 at WeWork’s San Francisco headquarters.
The event, sponsored by Facebook, also boasts a “Meatless Marketplace,” presenting plant-based products from Silicon Valley’s leading startups in the burgeoning space.
Prince Khaled has vocally championed plant-based business models for years, and was early to join the A-list of VCs on Beyond Meat’s impressive roster. Prince Khaled’s KBW Ventures is also part of the strong lineup of VCs rooting for Memphis Meats, another plant-based food company.
KBW Ventures was also part of the Series A investment of US$17 million into the Silicon Valley-based business co-founded by Dr. Uma Valeti and Nicholas Genovese in 2015.