The latest funding round was led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, the corporate VC arm of food giant Danone. The investment brings Symbrosia’s total funding to nearly $8.5 million, according to Reuters. Existing investors Pacific6 and Hatch* also took part.
The investment comes amid a global push to drastically cut methane emissions as part of the fight against climate change. According to data from the UN Food Agency, livestock accounts for 44 percent of human-made methane emissions. This makes it a natural target for governments and sustainable investors.
In an interview with Reuters, Symbrosia said that its seaweed additive SeaGraze, which uses the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis, has led to an 80 percent drop in enteric methane emissions from cows and sheep when added to their feed in two commercial trials. According to their website, SeaGraze has no impact on the animals’ meat, milk or wool.
The four-year-old startup will use the fresh capital to build a new facility in Hawaii and increase seaweed production "by a factor of 1,000," Symbrosia's founder and CEO, Alexia Akbay, said.
"This Series-A funding round marks a critical inflection point where we shift our focus to bringing this innovation to market at scale, as quickly as possible," she added.
By ramping up commercial production, Symbrosia also hopes to bring down the cost of SeaGraze, which currently costs farmers between 80 cents and $1.50 per animal each day. Large dairy farms in the United States have over 10,000 cows, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
*The Fish Site and Symbrosia is part of Hatch's investment portfolio, but The Fish Site retains editorial independence.