Cultured Decadence, a Madison, Wisconsin-based cellular agriculture company, has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed financing and obtained a state government grant to create the first cell-cultured lobster meat in North America. The funds will be used to expand its team and continue development of cell-cultured lobster meat prototypes in preparation for a commercial launch.
CEO John Pattison and CSO Ian Johnson (respectively pictured second from left and at far right in photo above) co-founded the enterprise to sustainable produce shellfish that have a dramatically lower environmental impact and higher nutritional quality – and at a lower price point compared to current products. Cultured Decadence’s technology will utilize the cells of crustaceans, such as lobster, to make real meat without the shell or organs, thereby offering seafood that’s more sustainable and indistinguishable in form and function from wild caught. The company’s technology can be applied broadly to the $160 billion market for seafood including lobster, crab, shrimp, and scallops.
“The way we engage with animals as a food source needs to change if we are to thrive as a planet,” Pattison said. “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.”
Investors in the oversubscribed round of financing include Bluestein Ventures, Joyance Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, gener8tor, GlassWall Syndicate, Bascom Ventures, and China-based Dao Foods. The company also received non-dilutive funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC).
Ashley Hartman, Senior Principal at Bluestein Ventures commented, “John and Ian are visionary founders, and we’ve been impressed with the team’s skill set and scientific integrity. We’re excited to join the pre-seed round for Cultured Decadence and for the potential of their technology to transform the market for seafood; we look forward to supporting their vision to create animal-free shellfish.”
CTC Director Dr. Idella Yamben added: “This funding highlights critical progress made by Cultured Decadence and the importance of their collaborative engagement with academic and industry partners. CTC is excited for their continued success as they work to scale their technology in Wisconsin.”