Pacifico Biolabs Secures $3.3M to “Transform Seafood” with Whole Cut Alternatives

Berlin-based biotech startup Pacifico Biolabs emerges from two years in stealth mode with the announcement of a $3.3 million oversubscribed pre-seed round. 

With the capital, the startup plans to improve and further scale its “unique” biomass fermentation process to make mycelium-based whole-cut alternatives, starting with seafood. In addition, it will expand its team with key positions, such as a CTO and chief of staff.

“We are confident that Pacifico’s technology strongly positions them to transform seafood and beyond”

Simon Capital and FoodLabs led the funding round, joined by Exceptional Ventures and Sprout & About Ventures.

Patrick Noller, General Partner at FoodLabs, comments, “We are confident that Pacifico’s technology strongly positions them to transform seafood and beyond, addressing the urgent demands of a changing climate.” 

Friedrich Droste, Managing Partner of Simon Capital, shared, “Their innovative technical approach to alternative seafood addresses critical environmental and ethical concerns, fitting perfectly with the growing demand for sustainable food choices.”

Structure of the mushroom mycelium of the terrestrial soil
© luchschenF-stock.adobe.com

Mycelium and multiple microorganisms

Washington Logroño and Zac Austin founded Pacifico Biolabs in 2022 to positively impact the alternative protein sector with a solution to make better alternatives to seafood.

According to the startup, despite the enormous impact of industrial fishing and aquaculture on marine ecosystems, the available alternative seafood options have yet to generate as many sales of meat alternatives by appealing to consumers.

Using its scientific capabilities, Pacifico Biolabs claims to have developed a unique fermentation process that cultivates multiple microorganisms (though as yet not revealing which), including mycelium, and using other industry’s side streams as feedstock.

The fermentation process delivers a biomass that the startup says is highly nutritious and versatile, offering multiple possibilities from meat and fish alternatives to functional foods.

“With the support of our expert investors, this funding will enable us to scale our solution effectively, setting the stage for launching our products across Europe,” says Austin, who leads the startup as CEO.

fish Volcani Institute
Image source: Volcani Institute

Solving challenges

Other companies using biomass fermentation to make alternatives to seafood include Quorn, Austria’s Revo Foods, and Sweden’s Mycorena, which partnered to develop 3D-printable mycoprotein for seafood whole cuts.

Additionally, German biotech Koralo is developing seafood alternatives using microalgae and mycelium in a co-fermentation process. Using a different fermentation process, Chicago-based startup Aqua Cultured Foods is soon to launch “exceptional” alt seafood whole cuts.

“Our technology was developed with a focus on solving many of the challenges that have been faced by both plant-based and fermentation companies in the alternative protein sector,” Austin adds.

Pacifico Biolabs’ fermentation approach received the first prize in the Net-Zero Food System Mission at the EIT FOOD Summit in Lisbon. 

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