Shiok Meats isn’t so shrimpy anymore. The Singapore-based cultured meat startup, which has been using cellular aquaculture to grow crustaceans in a lab, just completed a $4.6 million seed round (h/t Forbes).
The round sports a pretty impressive list of investors, including the CEO of Monde Nissan (owner of popular plant-based meat product Quorn). Big Idea Ventures, a new venture fund focused on meat alternatives with backing from Tyson, also participated.
This news comes just a few weeks after the startup held the first public taste-test of its shrimp. The cell-based crustaceans were tucked into dumplings and served at The Disruption in Food and Sustainability Summit (DFSS) on March 29th.
For such a young company, Shiok Meats has been quickly gaining traction and notoriety. According to its CEO and co-founder Dr. Sandhya Sriram, Shiok Meats is the first cell-based meat company based in Asia. It was also the first cultured meat startup accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator.
When we first wrote about Shiok Meats back in January, we were optimistic that their choice of location — that is, Asia — would serve them well. Not only is there far smaller competition than in, say, Silicon Valley, but Asia also has a huge appetite for alternative protein, as well as the regulatory flexibility to bring new edible technologies, like cell-based meat, to market before the U.S. does.
Clearly, investors see the opportunity as well. Forbes reports that Shiok will use its new funding for R&D and to grow its bioengineering team. Next, the company will focus on scaling so that they can have a product to market in two to three years.