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Oban start-up secures over £750,000 to kickstart European seaweed industry

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Seaweed processing business Oceanium has announced the close of a second seed funding round which saw it raise a further £755,000 and bring new investors onboard.

Oceanium is investigating the potential of seaweed to provide a long-term response to the demand for marine-safe packaging as well as plant-based food sources.

Since the Oban-based company was set-up in 2018 it has now raised more than £6m in total funding.

Fund a growing seaweed industry

The business has had a successful year also securing £1.5m in grant funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) of the European Union for the KELP-EU project.

Oceanium will use the cash to scale up its bio-refinery and processing model to open up the market for the growing sustainable seaweed farming industry.

Seaweed farm

New investors include Silicon Valley-based Sustainable Ocean Alliance and Boston-based Norfolk Green Ventures.

It follows first round investments from Green Angel Syndicate, the only angel
investment syndicate in the UK specialising in the fight against climate change, World Wildlife Fund and Builders Vision.

Green Angel Syndicate have also invested for a second time in the latest round.

Hopes to kickstart seaweed industry in Europe

Oceanium chief executive and co-founder Karen Scofield said: “Oceanium is grateful for the ongoing support from the impact investment community.

“In addition to the $1 million from new and existing investors such as Green Angel Syndicate, we have been awarded a catalytic grant from EMFF to kickstart the seaweed industry in Europe.

“2021 has seen ever expanding interest in seaweed farming and seaweed-based products.

“We look forward to working closely with the seaweed farming community and mission aligned end users to build a sustainable value chain that benefits people health and planet health.”

Aerial view of seaweed farms

Green Angel Syndicate chief executive Cam Ross said: “We are delighted to extend our initial investment in Oceanium in this second close of their Seed II fundraising, driven by increased commitment from our angel members and additional investment from our Climate Change Fund.

“By using our specialist members’ input, we are pleased to be helping Oceanium to develop the sustainable seaweed industry and increase their impact on carbon in the food chain and in materials.”

Number of investors onboard

Early investment in Oceanium also came from ocean impact venture capital firm Katapult Ocean and Sky Ocean Ventures, as well as Scottish Enterprise.

The company was also one of nine global companies selected to participate in the Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Ocean Solutions Accelerator.

Craig Dudenhoeffer Sustainable Ocean Alliance chief innovation officer said:
“Through the Ocean Solutions Accelerator, Sustainable Ocean Alliance is proud to offer companies like Oceanium, a 2021 cohort member, the springboard and network to tackle some of the most pressing needs facing our oceans and people.

“By helping to unlock the sustainable seaweed farming industry, Oceanium’s biorefinery process is an innovative technological solution addressing food and nutrition, and circular materials challenges.”

Could north-east fisherman diversify into seaweed?

A recent study of the northern Aberdeenshire coastline found it to be a financially viable region for the growing seaweed farming industry.

Seaweed cultivation is a global market, and is crucial in the production of goods like food, cosmetics, packaging and animal feed.

New data from Northern Light Consulting, commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council’s regeneration team, has determined the northern coast of the region from Fraserburgh to Portsoy has potential.

Three potential seaweed farming sites were identified in the study near Portsoy, Gardenstown and Aberdour Bay.

The farm designs would consist of moorings and long lines, supported by buoys, for seaweed to grow from.

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