Nick Cooney’s Investments

Nick Cooney is founder and managing partner at Lever VC, an early stage venture capital fund.

At its heart, the investment thesis of Lever VC is simple: over the past one hundred years, protein production and consumption has doubled every three decades. All projections are that protein production will double again in the next few decades, in part as a result of increasing population but primarily as a result in increasing global wealth.

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

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

More details on the focus and scope of Lever VC’s investmentents are below. To connect with Nick Cooney regarding 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

Below are a few of the key criteria Nick Cooney and Lever VC look for in targeting companies for investment.


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

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

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


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

Lever VC expects the vast majority of investments to be made in the United States, western Europe, 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 primarily make initial investments at the pre-seed, seed, or Series A stages. An estimated 25% of invested capital will be used to make initial investments, with an estimated 75% retained for follow-on funding of the most promising initial investments.

Investment Size

Lever VC anticipates 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