Irish food startup Sea and Believe is on its way to raise the $3 million it wants for the next steps in producing a flaky, cod-tasting, plant-based alternative to the real thing.
After participating in the IndieBio’s accelerator programme, the female-led company has secured commitments for half of the $3 million in venture capital it is hoping to raise.
Founded by entrepreneur Jennifer O’Brien, Sea and Believe has developed what it says could be the first ever plant-based cod fillet to flake like the real thing. Initially, O’Brien developed seaweed-based burgers and goujons, which had commercial success straight away under the brand name Plantruption. O’Brien then joined forces with food scientist Piyali Chakraborty to develop whole plant-based fish fillets. The fillets are made using native Irish seaweed that comes from a particular region and which has a distinctive taste and texture.
Working together with and other key team members, O’Brien says she’s “Super proud of the accomplishment of actually achieving flaky ‘fish’. No one has been able to achieve this yet and it was truly an important program milestone for us.
Plantruption’s Irish Sea Weed Burger is made with seaweed harvested on Ireland’s Atlantic shores. The burger contains organically harvested red, brown, and green seaweeds, mixed with nutritious tempeh and vegetables. According to the company, it’s high in a range of nutrients such as iodine, iron, vitamin C antioxidants, fibre, vitamin K, and vitamin B12. It also contains almost 30g of protein. The burger comes in compostable packaging that dissolves in the ocean within 12-14 weeks.
The startup plans to use the funding to scale its seaweed production, establish a supply chain and begin building a seaweed farm and train fishermen to harvest their crop. According to the Vegconomist , the company is also planning to enter the US market.