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Seaweed startup secures £2 million seed funding

Environment Technology & equipment Processing +5 more

Seaweed processing startup Oceanium has successfully raised £2 million in order to scale up its biorefinery technology.

The funding is good news for Scotland's nascent seaweed farming sector

The Oban-based company’s main aim is to create bio-packaging from sustainably farmed seaweed, as well as high purity bioactives for nutrition and cosmeceuticals and plant-based food ingredients. It has ambitions to be the largest seaweed processing business in the world.

The first close of the Seed II Round was led by Green Angel Syndicate with World Wildlife Fund. Oceanium will use the funds to scale up its proprietary biorefinery and processing model to open up the market for the nascent sustainable seaweed farming industry.

Oceanium uses cascade refinery techniques to enable the production of home-compostable packaging materials and climate-friendly food ingredients including protein, fibre and bioactive nutraceuticals from sustainably farmed seaweed. Seaweed farming is a regenerative form of aquaculture that absorbs CO2 and nitrogen, increases biodiversity, and can generate additional income and livelihoods along coastal regions.

Oceanium founder Karen Scofield Seal said: “The calibre of investors in this round of funding highlights the opportunity and obligation we have to create a market for sustainably farmed seaweed and drive systemic change by providing regenerative food and material sources. We will continue to work closely with regional and global conservation partners including WWF, Safe Seaweed Coalition and Seaweed for Europe to ensure we lay the best possible foundations for what will be a transformative industry, in terms of both economic, societal and environmental impact.

Oceanium’s co-founder, Dr Charlie Bavington, comments: “Our innovative biorefinery process is built on decades of experience and provides the technology needed to extract the maximum value from the seaweed. By developing products which are in very high demand including plant-based food ingredients and home compostable biopackaging material, we will drive demand for farmed seaweed in UK, Europe and North America.

Paul Dobbins from WWF said: “Oceanium’s pioneering expansion of processing capacity for farmed seaweed is an exciting step for the industry. Brought to scale, cultivated seaweed could help achieve conservation goals by providing a nutritious source of food and livestock feed with less land and resource inputs. Developing an innovative biorefinery process will also help create feedstock for biodegradable packaging alternatives to petroleum-based plastics.”

Commenting on the environmental and economic opportunity at hand, activist and Oceans 2050 co-founder and activist Alexandra Cousteau said: “Seaweed farming is a form of agriculture that we humans can practice that is regenerative to the Ocean. Seaweed is a really exciting opportunity right now.”

Led by Green Angel Syndicate, the UK's only angel syndicate specialising in the fight against climate change, WWF is an anchor investor alongside Syndicate Room, Glass Wall Syndicate members, Kingfisher Capital, an UHNW family office and “green” angel investors from Europe, the UK and the US. The round follows early investment from ocean impact VCs Katapult Ocean and Sky Ocean Ventures, as well as Scottish Enterprise. Legal counsel and support for the funding round came from Vialex, which has worked with Oceanium since shortly after its inception.

Read more about Oceanium here.