Umami meats, the Singapore-based food tech startup developing cultured seafood, has secured $2.4 million in pre-seed funding. Umami Meats will leverage its plant-derived growth serum to enable the production of farmed seafood at price parity, with the aim of drastically reducing the two trillion fish caught each year.

Creating healthy, sustainable seafood without harming animals or oceans, Umami Meats’ new funding will be used to further develop its low-cost production system for cultured seafood. The brand hopes to pave the way for Singapore to host the leading technology platform to minimize the cost of large-scale cell-based manufacturing.

Umami Meats Fish Ball Soup
© Umami Meats

The pre-seed funding round was co-led by Better Bite Ventures, an APAC-focused alternative protein VC, and CULT Food Science, among others. Umami Meats says its scalable, low-cost production system for fish farming will include production-ready cell lines for multiple fish species, including Japanese eel, yellowfin tuna and red snapper.

$180 billion industry

Aiming to eventually enable production at price parity with conventional seafood, Umami will now mature production processes ahead of product demonstrations and taste tests. The company is riding a wave of alternative protein investment in the Asia-Pacific region, with 2021 seeing a record $312 million invested in the sector – a whopping 92% increase over the previous year.

“We are delighted to have partnered with this group of like-minded investors who share our vision for sustainable seafood. Seafood is a $180 billion industry facing growing global demand and supply that is increasingly volatile and threatened by climate change, overfishing and ocean pollutants,” commented Mihir Pershad, Founder and CEO of Umami Meats.