Israel’s Mermade has closed an oversubscribed seed funding round, with investors including OurCrowd, Fall Line, and Sake Bosch.
Mermade is a startup developing what it claims are the world’s first cultivated scallops. What sets the company apart is that it is using aquaponics, a circular process that allows it to cut costs and improve sustainability compared to other cultivated meat and seafood producers. The technology uses algae to recycle spent growth medium, a byproduct of the cell cultivation process.
Mermade intends to use the funding to hire stem cell and algae researchers, with the goal of producing its scallops on a laboratory scale by 2023. The startup is one of many alt-seafood producers to find success with investors in 2022 — figures show that the total amount invested in the sector was $178 million in the first six months of the year alone.
Since conventional scallops are costly, Mermade’s relatively low-cost production could make price parity a realistic prospect. Furthermore, scallops are much easier to replicate than many other types of meat and seafood, meaning the company could potentially get products to market more quickly.
“In the next few years, consumers worldwide 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,” co-founder and CEO Daniel Einhorn told The Spoon. “We could also produce a variety of other cultivated seafood products such as calamari, shrimp, crab meat, and more.”