Exclusive: Japanese fish giant Maruha Nichiro backs Singapore's Umami
Startup Umami Bioworks has raised seed funding from Japanese fish company Maruha Nichiro, the company tells Axios exclusively.
Why it matters: Lab-cultured food promises sustainable protein without catching wild fish or raising animals on farms.
Details: Singapore-based Umami (formerly called Umami Meats) described the round as a bridge funding between it's pre-seed and a pending Series A.
- Umami plans to use the funds to build out research and commercial teams in Japan. The company, founded in 2020, isn't disclosing the size of the round.
- Maruha Nichiro will use Umami's cell cultivation and manufacturing technology to develop and commercialize cultivated seafood.
Catch up quick: Umami uses genomics, stem cell biology and machine learning to create its cultivated cell manufacturing.
- Last year, the company raised a $2.4 million of pre-seed funding led by Genedant and Better Bite Ventures.
Big picture: In many regions in the world, catching wild fish is an unsustainable practice that has endangered many fish populations.
- Climate change has also started to wreak havoc on global fishing and Japan's fishing volumes have been declining over the last decade.
Yes, but: The big challenge for the emerging sector of cell-cultivated seafood is to reduce the cost of producing the proteins while scaling up manufacturing.