Former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana took a leading role in investing in a Seattle-based food startup called Crowd Cow, which was initiated by the NFL Hall of Famer's partners Joe Heitzebvrg and Ethan Lowry in 2015. The firm offers consumers to purchase meat product directly from Northwest ranchers through a crowdfunding platform.

Montana, a managing partner of Liquid 2 Ventures who invested in the meat industry along with his partners in January, admitted that he loves the meat.

"First of all, I am a big meat lover and I just like this idea. You get online, and you look for meats.

There isn't a lot of competition in the marketplace for something like this in the way they specialize, and we believe in the founders," Montana said in an interview with Fox Business last week Friday.

Previously, consumers purchased beef from traditional cattle ranchers at public auctions, small butchers, or specialty restaurants. In efforts to develop marketing strategies to sell the product, Crowd Cow formed a business model that would enable ranchers to make a connection with customers through technology platforms.

PETA against investors spending money on meat products

Meat has often been accused of a variety of illnesses, including heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) felt that eating meat could harm human's body.

Accordingly, PETA wrote a letter, signed by Andrew Bernstein, the group's senior communications manager, with an attempt to urge Montana to halt investing in a meat industry.

As of May 10, 2017, the letter said, "We urge you to call an audible and instead consider investing in sustainable, forward-thinking, compassionate businesses that put a focus on what's good for animals, humans, and the environment.

The ball is in your hands, Joe."

PETA also added in a letter that a healthy vegan diet could lower the risk of life-threatening illnesses. Meat Substitute Market Report, issued by Allied Market Research, revealed that the global market for vegan meats is expected to generate $5.2 billion by 2020.

As Lowry said in response to PETA's letter, "Millions of people love beef, and many thousands of families rely on cattle for their livelihood."

Sales of Crowd Cow

As Crowd Cow secures $2 million in venture capital funding, the firm hit $1 million in sales in less than two years by selling approximately 300 cows.

As of now, the firm is selling cows in 20 states west of Mississippi. Crowd Cow intends to market more cows nationwide, which will begin next month.

Crowd Cow sells the meat for $12 to $219 in range, according to Forbes.