Wanda Fish raises $7m in funding to develop cell-based bluefin tuna
Israeli food-tech start-up company, Wanda Fish Technologies, has secured $7 million in seed funding round.
The round was led by global aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark, with participation from returning investors, such as The Kitchen Hub by the Strauss Group, Peregrine Ventures, Pico Venture Partners, Morevc and CPT Capital.
Founded in 2021, Wanda Fish develops cell-based fish in environments beyond the ocean. The capital will boost the company's capacity to accelerate the development and expand the production of cell-based whole-cut bluefin tuna. Since its inception, Wanda Fish has secured a total of $10 million in funding.
These cuts imitate the texture, flavour and nutritional value of "wild-caught" bluefin tuna, retaining the fish's natural muscle and fat cells and contain the same native proteins and fatty acids such as omega-3 and other essential nutrients. Wanda Fish's cell-based bluefin tuna fillets are free from common ocean pollutants like mercury, and are produced under non-GMO standards.
Daphna Heffetz, co-founder and CEO of Wanda Fish, said: "We are excited and feel incredibly fortunate to collaborate with Aqua-Spark in propelling our venture forward. 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 cell-based, cruelty-free, and ocean-friendly bluefin tuna a reality."
Wanda Fish has made rapid progress in developing a whole-cut bluefin tuna prototype to provide a premium source of nutritious fish that will alleviate strain on the ocean ecosystem. The advancements involve constructing a 3D filet structure using bluefin tuna cells, differentiated into both muscle and fat tissues. Through its proprietary technique, Wanda Fish can accurately manage fat levels in its end products, allowing for the creation of various filet cuts.
Lissy Smit, CEO of Aqua-Spark, added: "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. We firmly believe in a future where sustainably farmed and cultivated seafood will work in concert with one another to alleviate the burden of overfishing, especially species like bluefin tuna, which are deemed unsustainable to farm."
Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, commented: "As the start-up's incubator, we've had the privilege of witnessing the immense progress Wanda Fish has made since their inception less than two years ago. Wanda Fish is transforming visionary ideas into a tangible, cutting-edge product that is just steps away from reaching its prototype. This is credited to a skilled and ambitious multinational team led by Daphna Heffetz that is undoubtedly poised for a resounding success story in the thriving alternative protein space; this spells good news for an overburdened marine ecosystem."