Investing in Nobell Foods

“Cows are extremely inefficient at turning plants into dairy.” This was one of the first things Nobell Foods founder and CEO Magi Richani said to me, and it continues to resonate. Just look at the numbers: it takes 6 kg of plant protein to produce just 1 kg of animal protein. That’s 10x… in the wrong direction. Additionally, that 1 gallon of milk requires a shocking 1000 gallons of water, not to mention that dairy cows contribute 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

And this only describes dairy as it exists today. This system isn’t simply inefficient — it’s unscalable and can’t meet the demands of the world’s growing population, which is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050. To support this population, the world needs to produce an additional 880 million tons of food. This means the dairy industry will either need to grow (meaning more land for cows, plus plants and water to support those cows) or to be changed dramatically, for the better.

Do we have to make tough choices going forward?  Or can we have it all? People love dairy products, and above all, they love cheese. A piece of pizza just isn’t the same without that melty stretchy goodness. So how do we get what we love about dairy without all the downsides? 

The answer is to cut out the cow. Cows turn plants into milk (and specifically milk proteins), so let’s engineer our plants to make those same proteins! Now, this is not the same thing as making “milk” from plants as we see it today on shelves. The dairy of the future is composed of the same proteins as the genuine article, but produced by plants instead of a cow. This approach does benefit from these preceding plant-based “milks” (like rice, soy, and oat), in that it uses existing technologies for extraction and production.

The benefits of this approach are multifold. By many metrics, his plant-produced dairy is much more efficient than dairy-by-cow. It also blows traditional dairy away on sustainability and animal welfare. Lower price and increased health benefits are also projected. 

That is why we are so excited to be investing in this effort led by Nobell (No + bell = free the cows!). Magi Richani is a polymath visionary who has not just seen how we can make this future happen, but has led the charge in making it a reality. Today, Nobell makes dairy proteins from plants, producing delicious cheeses at cost parity with animal cheese. But beyond that, Magi and her team are creating a whole new platform for food delivery, one that is better for all — people, animals, and the planet. They are creating a future where our grandchildren will say: “I can’t believe those wild creatures were held in muddy pens so we can drink their milk — that’s weird.”

I’m honored to support Magi and the team as a board member and help Nobell become the next generation dairy farmer.


The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see for additional important information.

Biology is eating the world

Sign up for our bio newsletter to get the a16z take on the future of biology and engineering.