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Berlin-based Bluu Biosciences has secured investment from DX Ventures, the venture capital arm of European online food delivery giant Delivery Hero. The capital raised is part of Bluu’s seed funding round, and will go towards accelerating the food tech’s time-to-market and distribution strategy when it launches its first cell-based fish products.
Delivery Hero-backed DX Ventures has invested in Bluu Biosciences’ seed funding round, the venture capital revealed on Tuesday (May 11). The amount of funding provided by DX Ventures, which has €50 million (~US$60.7 million) in initial capital, was undisclosed.
DX Ventures was set up earlier this year in January by Berlin-headquartered food delivery group Delivery Hero, whose global operations includes the FoodPanda network in Asian markets in addition to its own-name foothold in Europe, Middle East and Latin America.
The news comes on the heels of Bluu Biosciences’ €7 million (~US$8.25 million) raised in March, which the food tech said would go towards fuelling its R&D at the time. Currently, the company is the first and only food tech within Europe dedicated to culturing seafood species, joining the small but growing cohort of cell-based fish startups like Shiok Meats, Avant Meats, BlueNalu, Wildtype and Cultured Decadence.
We also see tremendous potential to leverage our food industry expertise to assist Bluu Biosciences with marketing its cell-based fish products to restaurants and commercial kitchens worldwide.Brendon Blacker, Partner, DX Ventures
Commenting on the decision to back Bluu, DX Ventures partner Brendon Blacker said: “Sustainability is at the heart of DX Ventures’ values and we are excited to support Bluu Biosciences to create a more sustainable seafood industry. We decided to partner with Bluu Biosciences after being impressed with the deep expertise of their world-class team and their clear focus on tackling the many challenges associated with the current fishing industry.”
“We also see tremendous potential to leverage our food industry expertise to assist Bluu Biosciences with marketing its cell-based fish products to restaurants and commercial kitchens worldwide.”
Outside of Europe, Delivery Hero’s subsidiary FoodPanda made headlines for delivering the world’s first cultured meat directly to consumers in Singapore in April this year, in partnership with Eat Just, who gained regulatory approval and made its first commercial sale in December 2020. DX Ventures has also invested in the San Francisco-based food tech, whose cultured chicken product is sold under its Good Meat brand.
Investment from DX Ventures would therefore pave the way for future strategic partnerships between Bluu and Delivery Hero’s distribution network as the startup begins to plan its go-to-market strategy, potentially becoming the first in Europe to make cell-cultured protein a reality.
The collaboration is also an incredibly interesting opportunity for future distribution – with the potential to access thousands of great restaurants and kitchens internationally.Dr. Sebastian Rakers, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Bluu Biosciences
“With DX Ventures’ strong backing from Delivery Hero SE, a DAX company in Germany, we believe there are many long-term benefits to realise from our partnership,” said Dr. Sebastian Rakers, co-founder and joint managing director of Bluu, alongside Simon Fabich.
“The collaboration is also an incredibly interesting opportunity for future distribution – with the potential to access thousands of great restaurants and kitchens internationally, which we see as an attractive way of accelerating our commercialisation roadmap,” Rakers continued.
Other investors that have backed Bluu include Manta Ray Ventures, CPT Capital and Lever VC, among others, who are increasingly eyeing the cell-based seafood space for its enormous disruption potential.
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.
In March, Rakers revealed that Bluu is currently conducting its R&D in partnership with the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology and Cell Engineering (EMB), and are focused on a range of fish cell lines. It will also be collaborating with other organisations as it continues to scale and refine their technology.
Lead image courtesy of Bluu Biosciences.