Nick Cooney’s Investments

Nick Cooney is the managing partner and founder at Lever VC, an early stage venture capital fund.  At its heart, the investment thesis of Lever VC is straightforward over the past one hundred years, protein production and consumption has increased every three decades. All projections are that protein production will double again in the next few decades, due to increasing population but primarily as a result in growing global wealth.

But where will this protein originate from? Certainly some will come from conventional animal agriculture sources: conventionally produced eggs, meat, milk and so on. But research agencies forecast that “alternative proteins”—things like plant-based meat and dairy and clean (cultured) meat will make up a considerable portion of this growth, possibly up to one third of the total animal protein market by 2054—gathering up to $1 trillion in annual revenue.

Lever VC and Nick Cooney are investing in startups around the world who are producing egg, plant-based meat, and dairy products, and cell-cultivated meat, and related products and services.

More details on the scope and focus of Lever VC’s investments are below. To connect with Nick Cooney in regards to Lever VC, or to learn more about Nick’s work in the space, you can:

You can also read articles about investments and investment strategy of Nick Cooney and Lever VC on a variety of media outlets including Yahoo Finance, Upside, Bloomberg, CNBC, Food Navigator, and Just-Food.

Lever VC’s Investment Approach

Here are the key criteria Nick Cooney and Lever VC look for in targeting companies for investment


Lever VC invests in food technology-related companies and food technology, with a specific focus on the alternative protein space. The “alternative protein” space includes several types of protein products:  dairy, plant-based meat, egg and associated products; dairy, “clean” (cultured) meat, egg and related products; and pure plant proteins (such as lupin, pea, etc.) used as functional ingredients in equipped foods.

Companies that Nick Cooney and Lever VC invest in could comprise the following:  companies that generate and sell branded or white-label alternative protein customer packaged goods; companies that produce and offer alternative protein ingredients, or finished or semi-finished products, to other food businesses; companies that share out alternative protein products to businesses or sell to consumers directly; platforms that connect consumers with alternative protein products; other companies involved in producing, developing, selling, distributing, or endorsing alternative protein products or ingredients for such products.

The “alternative protein” word is sometimes used as a descriptor for insect-based proteins; but, Lever VC will not invest in insect-based protein companies. Also, Nick Cooney and Lever VC will not invest in traditional egg, meat, dairy, or related companies. By “traditional”, Lever VC means companies that breed and use live animals as their technique of protein production.


Lever VC will think about investments in all geographic regions of the world where latent or existent consumer demand, coupled with strong capital market environments and the right management teams and product ideas, line up to form compelling investment opportunities.

Lever VC expects the huge majority of investments to be made in the western Europe, United States, the greater China region, and Israel. Investments in Australia, India, Brazil, Mexico or other countries may also be made if the right opportunity arises.


Lever VC will chiefly make initial investments at the pre-seed, seed, or Series A stages. A probable 25% of invested capital will be used to make initial investments, with an estimated 75% retained for follow-on funding of the most talented initial investments.

Investment Size

Lever VC expects that most initial investments will be in the $200,000-$1,000,000 range. Follow-on funding will typically entail larger check sizes, with follow-on investments expected to range between $1 and $4 million USD.

More Information on Nick Cooney’s investments at Lever VC

Sample Articles on Nick Cooney and Lever VC’s interest in the China market