Cooks Venture, the Chicken Company with Big Dreams, Eats up $50M

Cooks Venture, the Chicken Company with Big Dreams, Eats up $50M

In the United States and around the world, chicken is the most popular meat. Despite this, the system in place to breed, feed, and nurture all of these chickens is extremely harmful to our general health. It supports a traditional agricultural system that relies on corn and soy production, as well as a system in which the great majority of chicken supplied to customers has been consistently inbred, resulting in a lack of genetic variety. On a lesser scale, this can result in bland-tasting meat, but it also exposes the country’s chicken supply to virus infection.

Cooks Venture, created by Blue Apron co-founder Matt Wadiak, aims to deconstruct the current system one step at a time. The hens themselves are at the root of the problem. Cooks Venture has spent over a decade researching chicken genetics before settling on the Pioneer, a proprietary pedigree line that has been intentionally selected to develop slower, have a stronger immune system, and have far better intestinal health. According to Wadiak, it also tastes better, but that isn’t the sole (or most essential) benefit.

Because of their good gut health, these hens can be fed only one type of feed for the rest of their lives. Over the course of their lives, a typical broiler chicken will require anywhere from three to five different feed mixtures, all of which are corn and soy blends. This means that each flock of chickens that is born puts a lot of strain on the transportation system. Furthermore, the Cooks Venture chicken can eat a much wider variety of foods. This is significant because it has the potential to encourage farmers who control 97 percent of America’s farmland to produce crops other than soy and maize.

Cooks has its own feed farm and processing factory for the chickens it raises, and it sells its chickens to consumers through a small number of shops (you can also buy one through the Cooks Venture website). Cooks Venture hopes to license its regenerative agriculture IP to chicken feed farmers in the future, contracting them to grow more biodiverse crops and eventually feed Cooks Venture chicks. Cooks sees a potential to partner with companies or farmers interested in spreading the Cooks Venture genetic lines on the opposite end of the revenue range.

Cooks could work with farmers in locations with harsh heat or food shortages because these hens can withstand a more varied diet and are more heat resistant with stronger immune systems. Cooks reported today that it has acquired $50 million in debt financing from PIUS, a company that protects loans against the intellectual property of rising digital companies. Wadiak was recently interviewed on an episode of the FOUND podcast, and we recently sat down with him to record an episode. The episode will be released in the near future. Make sure you don’t miss out by subscribing here.