Cell-cultivated scallops company raises $3 million

Cell-cultivated scallops company raises $3 million

JERUSALEM — Food tech startup Mermade Seafoods Ltd. has raised $3.3 million in seed funding for product development.

Founded in 2021, Mermade uses circular, cellular agriculture technology to produce cultivated scallops.

“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 Daniel Einhorn, chief executive officer and co-founder of Mermade. “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.”

Mermade’s cellular agriculture process differs from others in the market because of its circular nature. The process, dubbed Cytoponics by Mermade, recycles the growth media for cultivated cell manufacturing using micro-algae and then upcycles the algae into useful media components.

Cytoponics could also help lower the costs of manufacturing other cultivated meats, according to the company, where 55% to 90% of marginal costs are due to growth media.

“Mermade is not only pioneering new technologies to improve sustainability in aquaculture, but we believe they are building a circular technology platform that could unlock scalable commercial production for the entire cultivated meat industry,” said Eric O’Brien, managing director of Fall Line Capital, an American venture capital firm specializing in agriculture technology.

Fall Line is one of the lead investors in the seed round, along with OurCrowd, Sake Bosch and others.

In addition to product development, funding from the seed round will go toward employing more stem cell and algae researchers. Mermade expects to develop its scallop product and reach laboratory scale-production by 2023 with plans to develop other cultivated seafoods in the future.