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Berlin-based Bluu Biosciences has bagged €7 million (~US$8.25 million) in a seed funding round to fuel its R&D focused on cell-cultured fish. As the only food tech in Europe dedicated to culturing seafood species, the startup joins the handful of companies around the world active in this field. Bluu Biosciences says its oversubscribed funding round is a glimpse of investors’ bullish outlook for the sector as the alternative protein space continues to diversify.
Bluu Biosciences has raised €7 million (~US$8.25 million) in an oversubscribed seed financing round that saw participation from a number of food-focused impact investment firms, including London-based Manta Ray Ventures and CPT Capital, New York-headquartered Lever VC, Berlin-based Be8, and Swedish nonprofit Norrsken. The capital will go towards its biotechnology R&D and product development of cell-cultured fish, the startup announced on Friday (March 26).
Currently, Bluu Biosciences stands as the only startup in Europe dedicated to cultivating seafood species, and among a handful of food techs in the world. Other players include U.S.-based BlueNalu, the most well-funded cultivated seafood startup to date, Singapore’s Shiok Meats focused on crustacean meats, Hong Kong-based Avant Meats who debuted Asia’s first cell-based fish fillet and Wildtype in San Francisco, who are cultivating sushi-grade salmon.
Bluu Biosciences joined the sector just 10 months ago, its founding supported by the EVIG Group, a Berlin-based company building specialising in firms set on tackling future food challenges.
The round was closed in a matter of weeks, which indicates how compelling the science team and the science foundation of Bluu is. It also showcases the incredible interest of great investors to support this kind of initiative.Simon Fabich, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Bluu Biosciences
Commenting on the round, Dr. Sebastian Rakers, co-founder and managing director of Bluu Biosciences, said: “We are proud that we could partner with investors such as Manta Ray, CPT, Lever, and more, that believe in the importance of deep innovation for the aim of a more sustainable food system.”
Simon Fabich, co-founder and managing director of Bluu Biosciences, added that funding round signals the growing prospects investors are now eyeing in the realm of cell-based seafood, which is likely to follow the explosive growth that that the cultivated meat sector has seen over the past few years. In 2020, cultivated food techs brought in US$360 million, six-times more than the amount invested in 2019 and led by key rounds from Mosa Meat and Memphis Meats.
“The round was closed in a matter of weeks, which indicates how compelling the science team and the science foundation of Bluu is. It also showcases the incredible interest of great investors to support this kind of initiative,” noted Fabich.
Demand for seafood is set to rise dramatically as more consumers look to displace red meat with fish, making the need for real sustainable solutions to ethically and environmentally disastrous commercial fishing and the health dangers related to fish farming evermore critical.
Bluu Biosciences has set out to produce tasty and nutrient-optimised fish products from fish cells that are free of genetic engineering, antibiotics and environmental toxins.Dr. Sebastian Rakers, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Bluu Biosciences
“Cultivated fish has the potential to feed a large portion of humanity. Our task is to rapidly operationalize the findings from biotechnological research to leverage this potential,” commented Rakers.
Rakers explains that currently, Bluu Biosciences is cooperating with researchers at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology and Cell Engineering (EMB) in Lübeck to develop tasty, nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood from different fish cell lines, and will look to partner with more organisations in the future to optimise nutrient media and for bioreactor development as the company scales its technology.
“Bluu Biosciences has set out to produce tasty and nutrient-optimised fish products from fish cells that are free of genetic engineering, antibiotics and environmental toxins. Above all, that means intensive research and development work to develop the optimal fish cell lines for subsequent production,” said Rakers.
“Bluu is in the excellent position of using proprietary technologies and non-GMO immortalised cell lines to achieve that.”
All images courtesy of Bluu Biosciences.