It’s been a while since cultivated fish went from idea to reality. We are talking about real animal protein directly grown from fish cells without killing the animal. Is in this space that BLUU Seafood, a leading European food biotech to produce cultivated fish, raised €16 million to further advance its technology and the market launch of its first products.
The Series A funding was led by Sparkfood, a subsidiary of Sonae, and by LBBW VC. Sparkfood, an investor and operator in innovative food companies across Europe, is an excellent fit with the existing outstanding international food and impact investors. Further participants in the round were Asian investor SeaX Ventures and other renowned VCs such as Manta Ray Ventures, Norrsken VC, Delivery Hero Ventures, Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH, and Dr. Oetker. In total, BLUU Seafood has raised more than €23 million since its founding in 2020.
Dr. Sebastian Rakers, Co-Founder and CEO of BLUU Seafood, says: “On the one hand, our highly successful Series-A demonstrates the enormous future potential that lies in cultivated fish as a platform technology for sustainable animal protein. On the other hand, it also underlines the strong scientific development that BLUU Seafood and our excellent team have delivered so far. Together with our strong, international investor base, we can start the next stage of development and bring our first products to market.”
With the fresh money, the company will focus primarily on the regulatory approval of its first products, in addition to expanding its research work and initiating pilot production. The main focus will be on hybrid products such as fish balls and fish fingers made from cultivated fish cells, the same as the ones presented in the summer of 2022. The start-up plans its market entry in Singapore, where the sale of cultivated chicken has already been approved by regulators in 2020, making it the ideal launch pad for BLUU’s cultivated fish, which the company expects to get approved by 2024.
In the US, cultivated meat and fish are also about to be launched into the market after recent USDA and FDA approvals for cultivated protein start-ups GOOD Meat and UPSIDE Foods. With the final approval of the US Department of Agriculture granted a few days ago, the sale is now officially allowed. BLUU Seafood, too, has initiated the approval process with the FDA. Europe will be the next to follow. The company is currently preparing to open its pilot production plant with construction work expected to be completed by autumn this year. With this plant, BLUU Seafood will leave lab scale and reach another important milestone by scaling up production into larger fermenters of up to 500 liters.
Simon Fabich, Co-Founder of BLUU Seafood, adds: “The momentum in the market is huge, exemplified by the recent regulatory approvals for cultivated food in the US. I am very excited about the upcoming launch of the first cultivated products into the American market. Our vision is becoming a reality. More and more, forward-looking investors have come to realize this, and the flow of capital will increase massively. BLUU Seafood, too, will continue to raise funds and help lead this revolution as a European player.”
As a pioneer at the interface between cell and food technology, BLUU Seafood is stepping up to produce healthy, sustainable and at the same time delicious fish products from cell cultures. The aim is to produce fish without animal suffering, in a cost-efficient way, thus making a significant contribution to climate and species protection.
Anouk Veber, Head of Ventures at Sparkfood, comments: “The future of human nutrition lies in healthier and sustainable alternatives to conventional food production. At Sparkfood, we focus on disruptive innovations in the food sector that preserve the environment while being scalable enough to make a relevant contribution to feeding the growing world population. BLUU Seafood has provided proof-of-concept for this. We are excited and proud to support the great team at BLUU Seafood in bringing this to market.”
Andreas von Richter, Managing Director of LBBW VC, adds: “Our vision is to shape a resilient future that is based on targeted investments in startups, which significantly and sustainably improve our carbon footprint. In this regard, groundbreaking technologies play a crucial role. In particular, the cell cultivation of proteins represents a key innovation. BLUU Seafood proves to be a real pioneer in this area, and we are delighted to support this German success story and jointly tread the path into a sustainable future.”