San Diego-based BlueNalu, a startup building technology to make cell-based seafood, announced today that it has raised $60 million in convertible note financing from new and existing investors. Rage Capital led this round of financing, with other participants including Agronomics, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, McWin, KBW Ventures, and Siddhi Capital.
This most recent round of financing will enable BlueNalu to open its planned 40,000 square foot pilot production facility and begin producing its cultured seafood there. Additionally, the company will complete an FDA regulatory review for its initial cultured fish products. BlueNalu will be trialing these initial products in foodservice establishments across the US sometime this year.
BlueNalu creates a variety of different seafood species by extracting cells from fish and crustaceans and growing these cell samples in large bioreactors. The company said it will start by launching cell-based mahi-mahi later this year, and then cell-based bluefin tuna after.
Due to global concerns of overfishing and pollution in seafood stocks, cell-based seafood may play an important role in the next few years by offering an alternative to wild-caught and farmed seafood. Avant Meat is focused on satisfying the tastebuds of consumers in China and Hong Kong through cell-based fish maw and sea cucumber. Singapore-based Shiok Meats has so far produced cell-based lobster and shrimp, with plans to make the shrimp commercially available sometime in 2022.
BlueNalu’s new production facility will be used to produce commercial-grade cultured fish for restaurants and other food outlets, and the new facility will be capable of providing 200 – 500 pounds of cell-based seafood per week.