Jul 23, 2021 / 14:05

Vinh Hoan seafood processor leads investment into cell-based meat startup

The investment will be used in advancing Shiok Meats’ research & development activities and build a state-of-the-art production facility in Singapore.

Vietnamese seafood exporter Vinh Hoan and South Korea’s leading food giants Woowa Brothers Asia Holdings and CJ CheilJedang Corporation announced a US$30-million bridge funding round into Shiok Meats, a cell-based crustacean meat company.

A representative from Vinh Hoan Corporation has confirmed with The Hanoi Times about the fresh investment on July 23. 

 A dish of cell-based lobster meat. Photo: Shiok Meats

This bridge round also includes further investment from existing investors such as IRONGREY (Korean family office investing in global tech companies), Big Idea Ventures (the US/Singapore), Twynam Investments (Australia), Henry Soesanto (CEO of Monde Nissin).

Vinh Hoan is a shareholder in Hong Kong-based Avant after agreeing to acquire Vinh Technology Pte Ltd, a Singapore-registered entity that owns a minority stake in the startup. Avant and Vinh Hoan will establish a partnership to accelerate commercialization of the Hong Kong startup’s ‘lab-grown’ seafood products. 

Vinh Hoan CEO Tam Nguyen suggested that cultured seafood products like those being developed by Avant could sit side-by-side with traditional aquaculture.

“Avant offers a unique opportunity for us to diversify our future product portfolio and provide customers with additional choices,” she said.

Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO & Co-founder of Shiok Meats, said the next 12-18 months are crucial for the firm. The funds will allow them to advance their research & development efforts and build a state-of-the-art production facility in Singapore.

“We will expand operations, collaborations and also work on vertical and/or horizontal integration within the alternative protein industry,” she said.

The startup is committed to bringing this novel technology to the forefront of global food systems so they are robust enough to feed 10 billion people by 2050. 

Founded in 2018, Shiok Meats launched their first cell-based shrimp and lobster prototypes in exclusive tasting sessions in 2019 and 2020, respectively. 

The company employs more than 30 scientists, engineers, food technologists, and business professionals and intends to launch in Singapore latest by 2023.