By Randy Myers
Investment will enable completion of world’s first commercial pilot facility for producing cell-based seafood, and support plans for market launch in late 2021
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (January 21, 2021) – Lewis & Clark AgriFood, a St. Louis-based food and agriculture focused investment firm, today announced a $5 million investment from their AgriFood Growth Fund in BlueNalu, a leading innovative food company producing a variety of seafood products directly from fish cells.
Based in San Diego, California, BlueNalu announced the closing of $60 million in financing from new and existing investors. This marks the largest investment to date in the cell-based seafood industry worldwide.
The investment is intended to enable BlueNalu to achieve several significant milestones over the coming year, including opening a nearly 40,000 square foot pilot production facility and initiating marketplace testing in a variety of foodservice establishments throughout the United States.
“Innovative companies like BlueNalu represent an incredible opportunity to help promote sustainable advancements in food and agriculture technologies,” said David Taiclet, Managing Director and General Partner of Lewis & Clark AgriFood. “We’re very excited to support its mission to be the global leader in cellular aquaculture to help feed the world. Lewis & Clark is proud to partner with BlueNalu in the next phase of the company’s growth.”
Larry Page, PhD, Managing Director of Lewis & Clark AgriFood added, “We have looked at a wide variety of companies in the cellular agriculture industry, and find BlueNalu differentiated in two key areas. First, their early focus on ocean-going finfish that have to date proven difficult to farm means that they are creating a product whose alternative must be harvested from the wild. Second, the team has a great set of technical leaders, and BlueNalu has a unique COGS-reduction strategy that should enable them to get to scale very quickly.”
“The team at BlueNalu is driven to produce cell-based seafood products that are healthy for consumers, humane for animals, sustainable for our planet, and provide increased food security to each nation in which we go to market,” stated Lou Cooperhouse, BlueNalu’s President and CEO. “This recent financing will allow us to continue advancing our mission and the next phase of our commercialization plans, while we continue to develop strategic partnerships that we expect will provide us with global market reach during the coming years.”
BlueNalu plans to introduce a wide variety of cell-based seafood products from its pilot production facility in San Diego. The company anticipates starting with the launch of mahi mahi later this year, followed by the launch of a premium bluefin tuna thereafter.
“The global market for seafood is highly vulnerable today and is valued at an estimated $200 billion. With strong investor support, our innovative and visionary management team demonstrates a clear value proposition, technology, IP, and a comprehensive regulatory strategy, all of which provide a solid foundation as we move closer to our in-market launch,” said Amir Feder, BlueNalu’s CFO.https://c9fb31dd9c0072bf9d41608696d6e924.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
BlueNalu is currently establishing joint venture partnerships within key markets where it will operate. These partnerships are expected to enable them to navigate regulatory pathways, lower the cost of goods, introduce new species and new product forms, and inform their global market strategy. Previously, BlueNalu announced five global strategic investment partners: Nutreco, based in the Netherlands; Pulmuone, based in South Korea; Sumitomo, based in Japan; and Griffith Foods and Rich Products Corporation, based in the U.S.
Rage Capital led the $60 million convertible note financing, and other significant participants include Agronomics, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, McWin, and Siddhi Capital. Strategic investors in this financing include Radicle Growth, by way of the Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta; Rich Products Corporation; and Thai Union. A partial list of other investors includes: AiiM Partners, Clear Current Capital, CPT Capital, Flat World Partners, KBW Ventures, Losa Group, OurCrowd, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Stray Dog Ventures. As part of this financing, BlueNalu added four new Observers to its Board of Directors: Steven Finn of Siddhi Capital, Jim Mellon of Agronomics, Larry Page of Lewis & Clark AgriFood, and Alex Ruimy of Rage Capital.
About Lewis & Clark AgriFood
Lewis & Clark AgriFoodis a St. Louis-based group of experienced investment professionals that are passionate about investing in companies that are at the forefront of food and agriculture innovation. We look for companies that deliver benefits to the stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector, from the producer, through the supply chain, all the way to the consumer. We invest in companies that are at the growth stage of their evolution, poised to scale their technology to a national or global scale. As founders, operators, investors and scientists, our seasoned investment team brings a breadth of quality sector experience to every investment. For more information, visit www.lewisandclarkagrifood.com or connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
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