Wanda Fish raises $7 million in seed funding to accelerate the pilot production of cultivated bluefin tuna

Published: 13-Oct-2023

Netherlands-based aquaculture investment fund, Aqua-Spark, led the round, joined by additional investors The Kitchen Hub, Peregrine Ventures, PICO Venture Partners, MOREVC and CPT Capital

Founded in 2021 by The Kitchen Hub and Daphna Heffetz, a leading figure in biotechnology-based innovation, Wanda Fish develops premium quality, cultivated fish outside of the ocean.

This new injection of capital will boost Wanda Fish’s ability to accelerate the creation and increase the scale of a cultivated whole-cut filet of bluefin tuna. 

These cuts replicate the texture, flavour and nutritional value of wild-caught bluefin tuna as they comprise the fish’s muscle and fat cells and contain the same native proteins and fatty acids, including omega-3 and other essential nutrients.

As a cultivated filet, Wanda Fish’s bluefin tuna has no common ocean pollutants, such as mercury, and is produced under non-GMO standards.

“We are excited and feel incredibly fortunate to collaborate with Aqua-Spark in propelling our venture forward,” says Daphna Heffetz, cofounder and CEO of Wanda Fish.

“We are on a shared mission to improve the global food value chain, creating a tasty, more sustainable future for all. This financial backing by leading global venture funds gives us significant leverage to make sustainably cultivated, cruelty free and ocean-friendly bluefin tuna a reality.”

Further driving demand is bluefin tuna’s inaccessibility.

Overfishing of bluefin tuna has pushed it to the brink of endangerment, leading governments to significantly limit fishing quotas.

Meanwhile, tuna is considered to be unsustainable to farm owing to the feed resources, pen size requirements and difficulty of breeding in captivity.

Wanda Fish raises  million in seed funding to accelerate the pilot production of cultivated bluefin tuna

In addition, tuna is one of the oceans’ most polluted fish, often contaminated with plastic debris and extremely high levels of heavy metals such as mercury, intensifying the need for an accessible, stable supply of sustainable alternatives.

Wanda Fish has made rapid progress on key developmental breakthroughs toward achieving a whole-cut bluefin tuna prototype to provide an abundant, premium source of highly nutritious fish that will alleviate strain on the delicate ocean ecosystem.

This includes forming a 3D filet structure using bluefin tuna cells, differentiated into both muscle and fat tissues. With its proprietary technique, Wanda Fish can precisely control fat levels in its end products.

This enables the creation of a diverse range of filet cuts, including the highly sought-after Toro premium cut.

“In such a burgeoning and innovative sector, we are pleased to welcome Wanda Fish into our portfolio of companies based on the remarkable speed with which they’ve met significant milestones,” asserts Lissy Smit, CEO of Aqua-Spark.

“We firmly believe in a future in which sustainably farmed and cultivated seafood will work in concert with one another to alleviate the burden of overfishing, especially species such as bluefin tuna which are deemed to be unsustainable to farm.”

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