Israeli start-up, Mermade, gets seed funding for its lab-grown scallops
Israel's cultivated scallop start-up, Mermade Seafoods, has finalized a US$3.3 million seed financing round. The round was oversubscribed and investors included OurCrowd, Fall Line, and Sake Bosch.
The Jerusalem-based food-tech company has also unveiled a new circular cellular agriculture technology for the production of cultivated scallops. The technology will make it possible to streamline the global scallop market and provide a high-quality, tasty and cheaper product than those currently available.
The company plans developing a product and reach laboratory-scale production by 2023. Mermade will use the latest funds to employ more stem cell and algae researchers, and speed up development. Scallop is just the first product the company will develop out of a diverse portfolio of seafood that will gradually arrive on the market.
The use of algae to recycle the cells' growth substrate is the company's secret formula and a large part of investors' interest. This cellular interpretation of traditional aquaponics was termed by the company Cytoponics. Mermade has filed several patent applications related to this circular production method, which distinguishes it from other companies on the market.
"We decided to focus on scallop as our first product, since it's a popular dish all over the world, but one that suffers from high prices and shortages due to serious supply chain problems," said the company's Daniel Einhorn, Co-founder & CEO. "It's easier to produce in comparison with other more complex meat products, and we can bring it to market relatively quickly. The global scallop market is worth US$8 billion a year, over US$600 million of which is in the USA alone. Our production method will make it possible to reduce the cost of each scallop dish and to expand the market's volume by orders of magnitude because supply will finally adjust itself to the high demand.
"In the next few years, consumers around the world will be able to buy cultivated scallops (Coquilles Saint Jacques) made by Mermade in a supermarket or restaurant, at an affordable price and with the same quality and taste as the original food," Einhorn continued. "Using Cytoponics as our production platform, we could also produce a variety of other cultivated seafood products such as calamari, shrimp, crab meat and more. The opportunity in this field along with our unique technologies will establish us as market leaders in the coming decade."
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