Monday, December 14, 2020

"Hong Kong’s Avant nets $3m funding to expand cultured seafood range"

From AgFunder, December 11: 

Hong Kong-based cultured meat startup Avant Meats, which grows ‘animal-free’ proteins from the cells of fish and other marine organisms for food, skincare, and other applications, has raised $3.1 million in seed funding.

Investors taking part in the round included China Venture Capital, Lever VC, CPT Capital, Artesian, ParticleX, Loyal VC, AngelHub, and 208 Seed Ventures.

PTG Food — a Hong Kong-based group of food supply companies — also joined the round.

Markus Haefeli, chairman of Regal Springs — which claims to be the world’s largest “responsible producer” of tilapia fish — was another investor.

The involvement of a more traditional producer of seafood may come as a surprise, given that companies creating ‘lab-grown’ alternatives, like Avant, might typically be seen as aspirant competitors to them.

But Avant co-founder and CEO Carrie Chan believes that the startup and Regal Springs “have the same targets and goals.”

“Our business model is the same: turning feed and nutrients into animal protein,” she told AFN.

“The target customers are also the same; [we’re both in] B2B material supply. The two approaches to yield fish products and marine proteins are not in direct competition to us, but instead complement each other in providing for the broad variety of market demands.”

In a statement, Haefeli said he was sold on the startup’s ability “to cultivate animal proteins from a fully traceable system [that] will offer additional assurance to food and skincare brands demanding the highest level of functionality, safety, and accountability.”

A similar move in September saw aquaculture investor Aqua-Spark lead a $12.6 million Series A injection into Shiok Meats, a Singaporean startup developing ‘lab-grown’ lobster and shrimp meat....