Yemoja, an Israel-based startup making marine ingredients for B2B use, unveiled its new algae production platform today. The company uses something called “fast-track photobioreactor technology” to create specific algaes meant to be used as ingredients as a food supplement or in cosmetic products.
Founded in 2017, Yemoja grows large amounts of microalgae tailored to fit each startup partners’ needs. To do so they’ve developed a closed cultivation system that can maintain a specific temperature, pH balance, and light distribution. It’s also designed to be able to cultivate several species of algae at the same time. Thus far Yemoja has raised $4 million in seed funding and investments from the Israel Innovation Authority.
According to a press release sent to The Spoon, Yemoja distinguishes itself with its emphasis on scalability and versatility. With its modular grow system, which looks like racks filled with tall, cylindrical containers filled with lights, Yemoja can at least theoretically add almost countless units to fulfill customer needs. Since each system is self-contained, they can also cultivate multiple species of algae simultaneously — one for a plant-based meat company, another for face masks, for example.
This seems like a pretty obvious way to grow microalgae, so it’s possible that other companies out there are also growing organisms in a similar manner — or will soon start to. Especially since algae is becoming a popular health add-in to a range of food products, including plant-based proteins. That’s especially the case with seafood, as microalgae imparts a marine flavor to alternatives like shrimp and canned tuna.
However, Yemoja seems to be focusing not purely on quanitity of algae, but also bespoke, specialty products. Eyal Shalmon, the CEO of Yemoja, said in the aforementioned press release that only a dozen or so species of microalgae are commercially available right now. If they concentrate on building out a larger range of algae strains, Yemoja could help stand out in a sea of producers.