Wisconsin-based cellular agriculture company Cultured Decadence announced today it has raised $1.6 million in an oversubscribed round of pre-seed funding. Investors include Bluestein Ventures, Joyance Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, gener8tor, GlassWall Syndicate, Bascom Ventures, and China-based Dao Foods. The company also received non-dilutive funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC).
Cultured Decadence will use to the new funds to create what it says will be the first cell-cultured lobster meat in North America. This financing follows work by Cultured Decadence in developing novel cell lines and reducing the cost of its cell-culture media. Cell-culture media is typically one of the key elements driving up the cost of a cultured meat product, so any company making progress on this step is good news for the whole industry.
Lobster may be the first dish Cultured Decadence is recreating in a lab, but the company said its technology can be applied across a range of seafood analogues, including carp, shrimp, and scallops. The goal is to help decrease the planet’s reliance on traditional seafood. Overfishing, ocean pollution, and human rights abuses are just a few of the issues plaguing the industry, and they were around long before “Seaspiracy” hit Netflix.
The promise of cell-cultured seafood is that it doesn’t require the actual ocean to produce — a point underscored by Cultured Decadence’s Wisconsin headquarters, which is thousands of miles away from any major body of water.
The company joins Singapore-based Shiok Meats in the quest to provide more sustainable lobster meat to consumers. Shiok unveiled its lobster meat to the world for the first time at an invite-only taste-testing event in 2020.
Besides today’s, other recent fundraises in the cultured seafood space include Avant Meats’ $3.1 million round, also in December 2020, and BlueNalu’s $60 million fundraise in January 2021. While all of these companies focus on different products and specific processes, they share the end goal of advancing the cultured seafood industry, which is still an extremely nascent one.
Cultured Decadence said it would use the new funds to continue developing its lobster prototype and eventually launch commercially. No specific timeframe was given.