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Paris-based alt fish startup Seafood Reboot has closed a €3.2 million pre-seed funding round led by Demeter Investment Managers with participation from Senseii ventures, Founders Future and Beyond Impact. New funding has been secured to support ongoing R&D activities ahead of commercial launch of a first-generation plant-based seafood analogue.
Founded by Francois Blum and Simon Ferniot in October last year, Seafood Reboot is a fresh face in the alternative seafood sector focused on the use of algae as a sustainable food source powered in part by a partnership with the seaweed engineers at Algama, a Paris-New York-based food tech that aims to leverage seaweed as ‘actionable ingredients’, particularly in plant-based foods.
Seafood Reboot looking to begin production
The pre-seed funding raised will be used to initiate more structure within Seafood Reboot. A priority is slated to be the construction of the startup’s first pilot production plant, by early 2023. The company seeks to move quickly, due to the relative lack of competition, when compared to the plant-based meat and dairy industries.
“Faced with the climate emergency and the degradation of life in the oceans, the general public is becoming more aware every day of the need to change their eating habits,” Blum and Ferniot said in a statement.
Seafood Reboot aims to be the catalyst for change and a literal ‘reboot’ of the existing food system. It claims to be on track to create alternative seafood, made from regenerative algae. The taste, texture and nutritional benefits of conventional seafood are said to be captured, while leaving no negative footprint behind.
Protecting the oceans with fish-free seafood
The need to implement stewardship over the plant’s oceans is well documented. Various factual films, including Seaspiracy, have drawn attention to the plight of marine life in the face of commercial overfishing and increasingly stringent fishing laws attempt to rein in the practice. Regardless, 90 percent of all fish stocks are either nearing unsustainable levels or already being over-exploited. This has resulted in a prediction that seafood as we know it will cease to exist in less than 26 years.
Environmentally, the oceans produce 50 percent of all oxygen in the atmosphere and sequester 25 percent of carbon emissions. However, water is being eyed as a potential solution to reducing global emissions in a bid to reach net-zero and prevent further global warming. Ways to sequester more carbon, without increasing ocean acidification are currently being developed, to protect biodiversity.
The products that will take fish out of the food system
So far, Seafood Reboot has not provided any launch specifics, the company promises that its products will be vegan, non-GMO and algae-based. The startup does note that due to its French roots, it is going to be “picky” about what it releases, with health and sustainability remaining focus points.
Fellow fish-free pioneers
Plant-based seafood is a growing sector, with predictions of reaching $1.3 billion by 2031. This represents a CAGR of 28 percent. As a result, a number of brands are seeking to tap into the trend before the market becomes unreasonably crowded.
Notable amongst the fish-free seafood manufacturers is Happy Ocean Foods, a startup from Munich that recently secured funding through an appearance on Lion’s Den. It creates plant-based shrimp that impressed former Formula 1 racing champion Nico Rosberg enough to secure his investment.
Making a splash this year is Plantish, an Israeli startup now infamous for its hyper-realistic salmon fillets. In March, the company raised $12.45 million, just one month after teasing images of its salmon development. Commercial launch into foodservice channels is slated for late 2023.
Lead photo by Martin Widenka at Unsplash.