Oshi and The Better Meat Co awarded $1m grant to advance alt-protein
Two alt-protein start-ups – Oshi (formerly Plantish) and The Better Meat Co – have jointly been awarded a $1 million grant from the BIRD Foundation.
Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) grants are part of an Israeli and US government joint program intended to foster collaboration between Israeli and American companies by advancing industrial R&D of mutual benefit to both nations.
The BIRD Foundation approved $8 million in funding for nine new projects, which will also have access to private-sector funding, boosting the total investment in all projects to $23 million. The submitted projects are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the US Department of Commerce and the Israel Innovation Authority.
The two companies are aiming to tackle the problem of salmon decline because of overfishing, through the creation of mycoprotein-based salmon fillets.
Israel-based Oshi and US-based Better Meat Co are collaborating to create a healthy, humane and sustainable alternative to salmon that delivers on taste and nutrition without harming fish or human health.
Combining Oshi’s 3D technology and The Better Meat Co’s mycoprotein fermentation technology, the two start-ups will use the BIRD grant to create fish-free salmon whole cuts made from a high-protein, all-natural, whole food mycoprotein with nearly no processing at all.
Oshi co-founder Ariel Szklanny said: “We’re honoured to be selected for this prestigious grant with The Better Meat Co and look forward to reducing pressure on our finned friends by making alt-salmon fillets that are better than the ‘reel’ thing”.
Joanna Bromley, co-founder of The Better Meat Co, added: “Humanity only stopped harpooning whales once there were better alternatives to whale oil. Our goal is to create better alternatives to salmon with our friends at Oshi so we can leave more fish where they belong: in the water.”
The nine projects are in addition to over 1000 projects which the BIRD Foundation has approved for funding during its 46-year history. To date, BIRD's total investment in joint projects is over $390 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.
Amiram Appelbaum, chief scientist of innovation at the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, and co-chair of BIRD's Board of Governors, commented: "The selected companies and projects represent a diverse range of sectors. From agri-tech to food-tech, life sciences, logistics, video processing and quantum computing, these projects showcase the immense potential for innovation and collaboration across multiple industries.
“Moreover, they are strategically aligned with technological domains, for example: climatech and quantum, that are of strategic importance to both countries in meeting the challenges humanity faces both today and in the future. We are all looking forward to the impact they will make in their respective fields."