Forsea Snags $5.2 Million In Seed Funding for Cultivated Eel Meat
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Israel-based Forsea Foods has closed a $5.2 million Seed funding round led by Target Global with backing from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, PeakBridge VC, Zora Ventures, FoodHack, and Milk & Honey Ventures.
Forsea is growing its cultivated eel meat through an organoid platform, growing the meat ex vivo—similar to how it would grow inside a living eel. The company’s three-dimensional tissue structure bypasses the scaffolding stage common in cultivated meat and seafood production. The novel tech allows Forsea to produce its cultivated eel with fewer bioreactors while also reducing the costs associated with growth factors.
“We are very excited to announce the completion of this funding round,” Roee Nir, CEO, a biotechnology engineer and co-founder of Forsea, said in a statement. “Our investors express their trust in our game-changing technology for producing seafood with a minimal footprint on the environment. The patented organoid technology allows us to contribute to a safe and more resilient food system consumers demand.”
Funding will help Forsea bring its pilot plant online next year; the plant will serve as a launchpad for its large-scale alpha production system and help bring products to market, pending regulatory approval. While Forsea is starting with eel, it plans to expand its processes to include other fish species.
“We are eager to take part in Forsea’s quest to create sustainable, better-for-you seafood products that do not disrupt the biodiversity of the oceans,” said Shmuel Chafets, Executive Chairman and founder of Target Global. “Forsea is poised to make a dramatic impact on the seafood ecosystem. Its pillar platform solves a bottleneck in the cultivated meat industry by creating affordable, ethical, cultivated seafood products that can replace vulnerable fish species.”
“We are extremely pleased to invest in Forsea and welcome the company into our growing portfolio,” comments Yoni Glickman, Managing Partner of FoodSparks by PeakBridge. “Forsea has demonstrated breakthrough technology, having recruited an experienced team to solve a significant problem in the food system caused by overfishing and habitat loss.”
Forsea targeted eel meat because eel populations face an uncertain future due to impacts from overfishing, which has led to declines of 90 to 95 percent, and the impacts of climate change, which can alter sea temperatures and make food sources more elusive. Declining eel stocks have pushed the market prices up to $70 per kilogram in Japan.
“Depletion of world fisheries is a major threat to our food security,” adds Amir Zaidman, Chief Business Officer of The Kitchen Hub. “For this reason we teamed up with Nir and the founding team and backed Forsea from its inception at The Kitchen. We are proud to continue our support and to participate in the seed round of Forsea as it continues to attain its goals.”
“We can produce a product identical in flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional values to real eel,” emphasizes Nir. “Organoid platform allows us to design the fish fillet exactly as it grows in the fish, that is, in a 3-dimensional structure, without growing the fat and muscle tissues separately.”
Lead image courtesy Forsea.