DUBAI: KBW Ventures, the company founded by Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, was among a group of backers who agreed to refinance $60 million of debt held by a Californian cellular agriculture seafood company, it was announced on Tuesday.
BlueNalu produces a variety of seafood products directly from fish cells. In addition to the latest debt financing, it previously raised $4.5 million in early 2018 and $20 million in 2020.
The San Diego company aims to use the funding to open a 40,000 square foot pilot production facility as part of its bid to launch a pilot program and eventually distribute its products across the US.
“The team at BlueNalu is driven to produce cell-based seafood products that are healthy for consumers, humane for animals, sustainable for our planet and provide increased food security to each nation in which we go to market,” said Lou Cooperhouse, BlueNalu president and CEO.
“This recent round of funding will allow us to continue advancing our mission and the next phase of our commercialization plans, while we continue to develop strategic partnerships that we expect will provide us with global market reach during the coming years.”
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, added: “We have increased our stake in BlueNalu by investing for the second time. Our commitment to inject further capital is based on the company’s impressive forward roadmap, detailing a clear path to ramping up production and bringing its first product to market. KBW Ventures is pleased to play a role in the largest financing ever for a cell-based seafood company, aligning ourselves with mission-driven businesses that seek to solve the world’s food security issues sustainably.”
Amir Feder, BlueNalu’s CFO, said the company is confident it can penetrate the lucrative $200 billion global seafood market and that it is in the process of signing up a series of international strategic partners.
Last month, KBW Ventures also increased its investment in a Singapore-based biotech company aiming to produce lab-grown dairy products. TurtleTree Labs raised $6.2 million as part of its latest round of funding. Besides KBW Ventures, other investors included Green Monday Ventures, Eat Beyond Global and Verso Capital.
Founded in 2019, TurtleTree Labs, which has offices in San Francisco and Singapore, will use the funds to accelerate research and production of functional, bioactive proteins and complex sugars found in human milk.
The company hopes these will have potential benefits in gut and brain health, which can be applied to both infant and senior nutrition and offer a viable alternative to animal-based dairy products.
KBW Ventures invests in companies with transformative technologies and business models. Its other investments include the Colorado-based pet food firm Bond Pet Foods and California’s Beyond Meat.