John Pattison, the firm’s CEO who has previously worked for US cell-based meat company New Age Meats, founded the business with chief scientific officer Ian Johnson having come up with the idea to create sustainable seafood products with a “dramatically lower” environmental footprint in 2019.
Using its own technology, Cultured Decadence is developing seafood ‘meat’ using the cells of lobster in the first instance, with potential expansion into other shellfish such as crab, shrimp and scallops.
A spokesperson for the Madison, Wisconsin-based company, told just-food it does not yet have a manufacturing facility as the business is still at the R&D stage, adding: “We are currently building out our technology at bench scale and would look to pilot/commercialise in the next few years”.
Once launched, Cultured Decadence will focus on food manufacturers and foodservice operations in North America, and will then look to expand into China, the spokesperson confirmed. It claims to be the first to create “cell-cultured lobster meat in North America”.
CEO Pattison said in a statement: “The way we engage with animals as a food source needs to change if we are to thrive as a planet. Our team is at the forefront of that change as we build the future of seafood a thousand miles from the nearest ocean. We are pleased to partner with an experienced group of investors that share our vision and are eager to accelerate our technology to bring transformative seafood products to market.”
Contributors to the pre-seed round included Chicago-based venture-capital fund Bluestein Ventures and peer Joyance Partners in San Francisco, along with Chinese investment firm Dao Foods.
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Also taking part were Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund in Washington, Gener8tor, a start-up accelerator in Milwaukee, venture-capital group the GlassWall Syndicate and Bascom Ventures in Wisconsin. Cultured Decadence also received “non-dilutive funding” from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
In January, BlueNalu, a Californian company developing cell-cultured seafood, said it had raised $60m in debt financing, based on convertible notes, with Thailand-based seafood giant Thai Union Group among its backers.
Speaking to just-food, BlueNalu CEO and co-founder Lou Cooperhouse said the company expected to get regulatory clearance in the US this year. “We’re both learning from each other. The FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] is learning about how this gets done too, as are we. It’s a highly iterative approach … that we knew from the very beginning would probably take 12, 18 months and we’re in the last third of that process.”