Bluu Seafood reels in $17.5M to bring cultivated fish products to market

Bluu Seafood, a German company creating cultivated (i.e. “lab-grown”) fish products, today announced it has raised €16 million ($17.5 million) in a Series A round of funding.

Founded out of Berlin in 2020 originally as Bluu Biosciences, Bluu Seafood starts with a “one-time” fish biopsy — which, it says, doesn’t require killing any fish — and then uses stem-cell technology to grow entire cell lines (i.e. fish species) inside a lab.

The company unveiled its first products last August, including a line of fish sticks (or “fish fingers”) and fish balls. These are made from cultivated fish cells that are enriched with plant proteins, a process it says helps make their mouth-feel and cooking process more realistic.

bowl of lab-grown seafood

Bluu Seafood’s cultivated fish balls Image Credits: Bluu Seafood

Production problems

Bluu Seafood is one of numerous biotech startups that are setting out to address the world’s seafood production problems, which includes overfishing, contamination, and cruelty. But the movement is not limited to marine animals, with countless companies raising bucketloads of VC cash to reproduce everything from bacon to burgers and chicken and beyond.

Bluu Seafood, for its part, had raised €7.1 million in funding so far, and with another €16 million in the bank it’s now gearing up to attain regulatory approval in various markets, including Singapore which is currently the only market in the world where cultured meat (chicken) is available to buy. However, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) also started rubberstamping such edibles as being safe for human consumption, and just this week it approved two companies to begin selling their lab-grown chicken products — so we can expect some commercial activity in the U.S. in the very near future.

First up, Bluu Seafood is aiming to enter Singapore, where it says it expects to receive approval some time in 2024, while it says it has also kickstarted the approval process with the FDA, and will then set about targeting the European market.

Bluu Seafood’s Series A round was led by Sonae-subsidiary Sparkfood and LBBW VC, with participation from Delivery Hero, SeaX Ventures, Manta Ray Ventures, Norrsken VCHamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank and Dr. Oetker.

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