Oceanium has announced a fundraise of $2.6 million to support the scale-up of its biorefinery technology, aiming to meet market demand for seaweed-based ingredients.
The Scotland-based company was co-founded in 2018 by CEO Karen Scofield Seal and CTO Charlie Bavington, aiming to accelerate the emerging sustainable seaweed farming industry in the Western hemisphere.
The fundraise was led by existing investor Builders Vision, with a final close to be completed by early Autumn. Other participants included existing investors the World Wildlife Fund and Green Angel Ventures, as well as several new investors from Asia, Europe and the US.
Oceanium uses its proprietary technology, based on green chemistry principles, to create a suite of seaweed-based food products including food ingredients Ocean Health Fiber and Ocean Health Protein. It also produces natural bioactive ingredients for health and cosmetics, such as its Ocean Actives Fucoidan and Ocean Actives Beta-Glucan.
The company’s biorefinery model aims to provide a path for a scaled seaweed industry to contribute to food security and supply as a volume buyer of farmed seaweed.
Ocean Health Fiber, a seaweed-based sustainable dietary fibre, has received GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status in the US and regulatory approval in the UK and EU. Oceanium said it is receiving strong commercial traction from global food companies looking to integrate sustainable ingredients into their products.
Funding will support the commercialisation of these ingredients as well as the continued development of innovative materials, alongside completing preparations for the ‘shovel-ready’ installation of a scaled seaweed biorefinery planned under Oceanium’s Series A funding round.
The demonstration biorefinery aims to meet market demand for versatile ingredients and Oceanium’s B2B customers, building on a successful 75T seaweed processing run in 2023.
Funding will also allow Oceanium to bring on a managing director as it moves towards international expansion and growth.
CTO and co-founder, Charlie Bavington, commented: “In a short time, we’ve rapidly developed our biorefinery technology from lab bench to TRL 6-8, and some of our ingredients like Ocean Actives Fucoidan to TRL 7/8. This round helps us to achieve the exciting next step of delivering for our customers.”
James Lindsay, principal of the Builders Initiative investment team at Builders Vision, said: “Seaweed can play a valuable role in addressing climate change and creating sustainable food sources, but we need innovators like Oceanium to champion seaweed production and highlight its wide range of uses”.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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