Investments & Finance

Wanda Fish Technologies Raises $7M for Pilot Production of Cultivated Bluefin Tuna

Israeli food tech Wanda Fish Technologies announces it has secured $7 million in seed funding to scale the production of its first product — cultivated bluefin tuna whole-cut filet.

The company claims that its cultivated bluefin tuna, produced according to non-GMO standards, replicates the texture, flavor, and nutritional value of wild-caught fish without ocean pollutants like mercury.

“This financial backing […] gives us significant leverage to make sustainably cultivated, cruelty-free, and ocean-friendly bluefin tuna a reality”

The round was led by Netherlands-based global aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark, with additional funding from previous pre-seed investors The Kitchen Hub by the Strauss Group, Peregrine Ventures, LLC, PICO Venture Partners, MOREVC, and CPT Capital, LLP. To date, the company has raised $10 million in capital.

“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 cultivated, cruelty-free, and ocean-friendly bluefin tuna a reality,” says Daphna Heffetz, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Wanda Fish. 

Wanda Fish Technologies
Wanda Fish Technologies © Marcomit

3D filet structures

Founded in 2021 by The Kitchen Hub and Heffetz, a biotechnology expert, Wanda Fish has established a proprietary GMO-free platform that the company claims can produce cell-based fish of various species.

With R&D facilities in the USA and Israel, the company announced a collaboration with Tufts University in Massachusetts last year to accelerate its platform following breakthrough developments in fish cell cultivation. 

Additionally, Wanda Fish has successfully developed 3D filet structures using bluefin tuna cells, differentiated into muscle tissues and fat. The company explains that its proprietary 3D technique can precisely control fat levels in its end products, allowing it to create filet cuts, including the highly sought-after toro premium cut.

Wanda Fish Technologies
© Wanda Fish Technologies

The burden of overfishing

Bluefin tuna, known for its nutritional value, unique texture, and delectable flavor, is a highly coveted and pricy species in top-tier sushi restaurants. Due to excessive fishing, bluefin tuna is now on the brink of endangerment, leading governments to impose strict fishing quotas, explains Wanda Fish.

Moreover, tuna farming is deemed unsustainable due to challenges related to feed resources, pen size requirements, and difficulties in breeding in captivity. This popular fish is often contaminated with microplastic and dangerous levels of heavy metals, such as mercury. These factors emphasize the need for accessible and environmentally friendly alternatives for a stable and sustainable supply.

“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,” commented Lissy Smit, CEO of Aqua-Spark. 

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