Ittinsect, a Rome-based biotech startup developing a sustainable alternative to aquaculture feed, has closed its first investment round of €625K in which CDP Venture Capital, through the Accelerators Fund, Katapult Ocean, Indico Capital Partners, LVenture Group and two angel investors participated. This investment comes on top of a series of public awards and funding from, among others, the Lazio Region, bringing the startup’s pre-seed funding to over €750K.
The fresh capital will enable Ittinsect to develop biotech research further, making highly nutritious proteins extracted from insects and agricultural by-products commercially accessible for use in aquaculture.
By the end of 2023, Ittinsect will have produced and delivered 1,500 tonnes of sustainable, nutrient-dense feed for aquaculture. The young company will expand its existing product offerings – those for trout and sturgeon – with meals for saltwater fish such as sea bass and sea bream, and new functional ingredients for inclusion in feeds for other fish species, including salmon and tilapia.
Alessandro Romano, CEO and founder of Ittinsect, stated: “The team and I hold the investors in high esteem. Each of them has great expertise in their field and their target market. Working in synergy, they have played and will continue to play an important role in the growth of Ittinsect. We all work with a clear goal: to make aquaculture independent from marine resources, and therefore even more sustainable than it already is. We are excited to welcome new investors on our journey towards zero-impact aquaculture on the sea.”
Ittinsect joins a growing line-up of companies operating in the field of agricultural by-product valorisation for the creation of alternative proteins with high nutritional value and serves a booming market. Investors have expressed enthusiasm for Ittinsect’s growth potential and its positive impact on the environment and the marine ecosystem.
Ittinsect was founded in 2021, employs a team of experts in biotechnology, marine biology, fish nutrition, and sustainability, operates three separate research laboratories in the region, and has filed a patent-pending, forging strategic partnerships with players in the production sector.
The startup, based in Rome and operating at the national and European levels, was accelerated by ZERO, the Cleantech accelerator of the CDP National Network launched by CDP Venture Capital and Eni together with LVenture Group and Elis.
This round is the first stage in the journey of Ittinsect, which aims to become the European benchmark for the development of alternative proteins through the valorisation of by-products by means of biotech processes.
Ross Brooks, Partner at Norway’s Katapult Ocean fund, commented: “In order for insect meal to be adopted at scale digestibility and bioavailability of insect meal must be improved significantly. Ittinsect addresses this challenge directly with its unique bioprocessing approach, which unlocks insect meal as a key replacement to fishmeal for finfish aquaculture in Europe and beyond.”
André de Almeida Santos, Partner at Indico Capital Partners, added: “Ittinsect is a prime example of a startup with a solid business model and a product that is appreciated by the market, all under the banner of sustainability. The team, characterised by the audacious goal of making the feed industry independent from the fishing industry, has a strong execution capability and has laid the foundation for fast and structured growth. Indico Capital firmly believes that with its support Ittinsect will have an impact on a global scale.”