Singapore startup Shiok Meats, founded just two years ago, has successfully grown “in vitro” artificial shrimp from real crustacean cells and is preparing to enter the market with a new product. The company recently raised $12.6 million in Series A funding and announced work on new types of artificial meat. Startup plans to spend the funds received for the construction of the first plant, which will be put into operation in two years.
“We see a lot of new players appearing in the market. The next five years will determine who will survive, who will make a series of cuts and who will be able to support companies like ours and take this important step towards large-scale production,” explains Sandhya Sriram, CEO and co-founder of Shiok Meats.
Shiok Meats has created bioreactors and placed microscopic crustacean cells in them – they are heated to 82 degrees and feed on pre-prepared substances. The “Nutritious Soup”, according to Los Angeles Times, simulates a diet of real shrimp and reproduces the multiplication of one cell more than a trillion times. The result is an analogue of real shrimp with the same nutritional properties and flavor.
The key objective of Shiok Meats is to prove that “test tube meat” can compete with products of natural origin. And the company’s specialists have already achieved certain results. While the first shrimps grown with stem cells cost several thousand dollars, the current price is already about $300 per kilogram. In further plans of the company to reduce the cost per kilogram of shrimp to $ 50 by 2021. This should be enough to compete in the market with caught natural shrimp, according to representatives of Shiok Meats.
Shiok Meats is also considering ways to go beyond the minced shrimp meat and move to more complex products – crabs and lobsters.
According to Shriram, the new funding round will provide the startup with the necessary funds for at least three years and will open up opportunities for new research, development and construction of a new plant in Singapore. New shareholders of Shiok Meats include SEEDS Capital, an investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, and several venture capital funds. In total, Shiok Meats has already raised $20.2 million in investments.