Israeli FoodTech Startup Aims to Revolutionize the Seafood Industry with Lab-Grown Fish Products
Wanda Fish, a pioneering FoodTech startup based in Rehovot, Israel, has successfully raised $7 million in seed funding to accelerate its mission of producing cultivated bluefin tuna filets. The investment comes as a boost to the burgeoning cellular agriculture sector, as Wanda Fish aims to bring a more sustainable and pollutant-free option to the seafood market.
The seed funding round was led by Aqua-Spark, a Netherlands-based global aquaculture investment fund, and included participation from other venture capital firms such as The Kitchen Hub by the Strauss Group, Peregrine Ventures, Pico Venture Partners, MOREVC, and CPT Capital. This latest financial injection brings Wanda Fish's total funding to $10 million.
A Whole-Cut Alternative to Ocean Fish
Founded in 2021 by The Kitchen Hub and Daphna Heffetz, PhD, Wanda Fish specializes in cultivating fish cells to create whole-cut filets of bluefin tuna. The startup’s technology enables the formation of 3D filet structures that replicate the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of wild-caught bluefin tuna. Notably, the cultivated filets contain no ocean pollutants like mercury and meet non-GMO standards.
CEO Daphna Heffetz, who brings over two decades of experience in biotechnology, expressed enthusiasm about the funding: "This backing from leading global venture funds propels us closer to making sustainably cultivated, cruelty-free, and ocean-friendly bluefin tuna a reality.”
Innovation in Cellular Agriculture.
The Wanda Fish team is comprised of experts in various fields, including Malkiel Cohen, PhD, VP of R&D, an authority in stem cell technology and genomic engineering, and Yaron Sfadyah, LL.B & B.A., VP of Business Development, with over a decade of global marketing and business development experience.
The startup also collaborates with David Kaplan, PhD, a leading academic in cellular agriculture, under an exclusive research agreement with Tufts University in Boston.
The Market Potential and Environmental Impact
Bluefin tuna is highly prized for its unique combination of fatty acids and proteins, making it a premium choice in high-end sushi restaurants. Wanda Fish’s proprietary technology allows for the precise control of fat levels in the cultivated filets, enabling the production of diverse cuts including the sought-after Toro premium cut.
Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, commended the startup: "Wanda Fish is turning visionary ideas into a tangible product. Led by an ambitious multinational team, it is poised to make a significant impact in the alternative protein space and relieve the stress on our marine ecosystems."