Scottish firm raises £2m to boost seaweed packaging innovation

OCEANIUM, the Oban-based seaweed food and material innovation firm, has raised £2 million to scale up its process of turning seaweed into sustainable packaging.

The company uses cascade refinery techniques to enable the production of home-compostable packaging materials and climate-friendly food ingredients – including protein, fibre and bioactive nutraceuticals from sustainably farmed seaweed.

Seaweed farming is regarded as a regenerative form of aquaculture which absorbs CO2 and nitrogen, increases biodiversity, and can generate additional income and livelihoods along coastal regions.

The funding drive was led by Green Angel Syndicate, the UK’s only angel syndicate specialising in the fight against climate change. WWF is an anchor investor alongside SyndicateRoom, Glass Wall Syndicate members, Kingfisher Capital, an UHNW family office and ‘green’ angel investors from Europe, the UK and the US.

It follows early investment from ocean impact VCs Katapult Ocean and Sky Ocean Ventures, as well as Scottish Enterprise. Legal counsel and support for the funding round came from Vialex, which has worked with Oceanium since shortly after its inception, providing regular advice and expertise on corporate, commercial and IP law via their innovative legal counsel service.

Oceanium founder, Karen Scofield Seal, said. “The calibre of investors in this round of funding highlights the opportunity and obligation we have to create a market for sustainably farmed seaweed and drive systemic change by providing regenerative food and material sources. We will continue to work closely with regional and global conservation partners including WWF, Safe Seaweed Coalition and Seaweed for Europe to ensure we lay the best possible foundations for what will be a transformative industry, in terms of both economic, societal and environmental impact.

Oceanium’s co-founder Dr. Charlie Bavington added, “Our innovative biorefinery process is built on decades of experience and provides the technology needed to extract the maximum value from the seaweed. By developing products which are in very high demand including plant-based food ingredients and home compostable biopackaging material, we will drive demand for farmed seaweed in UK, Europe and North America.

Paul Dobbins from WWF said, “Oceanium’s pioneering expansion of processing capacity for farmed seaweed is an exciting step for the industry. Brought to scale, cultivated seaweed could help achieve conservation goals by providing a nutritious source of food and livestock feed with less land and resource inputs. Developing an innovative biorefinery process will also help create feedstock for biodegradable packaging alternatives to petroleum-based plastics.”