Aqua-Spark Announces an Investment in Singapore-based Shiok Meats

Shiok Meats is the First Cell-Based Company to Produce Clean, Sustainable, Cruelty-Free Shrimp and Crustaceans

Written by: staff /

Aqua-Spark, the first investment fund focused on sustainable aquaculture, announced an investment in Shiok Meats, the world’s first cell-based crustacean meat company based in Singapore. Shiok is the first cell-based meat company in South East Asia, and the first and only cell-based meat company working on shrimp. Their flagship product is a highly-anticipated cell-based shrimp, which offers clean, traceable alternatives to the shrimp farming industry.

Aqua-Spark is the lead investor in Shiok Meat’s $12.6M Series A round, which also includes investments from SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore), Real Tech Fund (Japan), Irongrey (a Global tech investing family office based in Korea), Yellowdog Empowers Fund (South Korea), Ilshin Holdings Pte. Ltd (Singapore), Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Ltd (Japan),Veg Invest Trust (USA), Makana Ventures (Singapore), AiiM Partners LP (USA), Beyond Impact (Europe), Kelvin Chan Siang Lin (Singapore), and Alex Payne and Nicole Brodeur (USA).

The funds will contribute towards building the first-of-its-kind commercial pilot plant from which Shiok plans to launch its minced shrimp product in 2022. This puts Shiok on schedule to become the first company in the world to have a fully functioning commercial pilot plant for cell-based crustacean production.

Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark: “The cell-based animal protein industry has been on our radar for some time as once it is at scale it will have an enormous influence on food production efficiency, food safety, and the environment. As our first investment in cell-based seafood, Shiok Meats immediately stood out to us with their strong, female-led team and impressive milestones to-date. While we’ve invested in a number of technologies working to make shrimp farming more efficient, healthier, and less polluting, Shiok is the first company in our portfolio to focus on shrimp production.  We are excited to help shape this novel and innovative industry, which we expect to have a huge impact on the future of seafood while continuing to support sustainable aquaculture operations, inputs, and innovations across the value chain.”

The shrimp market is a $50 billion market globally with Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and India being the major producers of shrimp. While there are many farms and technologies improving shrimp farming, there is still work to be done. Much of what is currently on the market is raised in crowded factories/farms and treated with antibiotics, chemicals, and hormones. Conventional production processes often contribute to overfishing, excessive bycatch, misrepresentation, and mislabeling as well as contamination with effluents, heavy metals, and microplastics. This form of production is unsustainable and the sector strain will only increase as the population grows. Shiok is addressing this need and disrupting crustacean production to ensure people can eat clean shrimp, crab, and lobster from a safe source. Clean meat production could reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 96 percent, energy consumption by 45 percent, land use by 99 percent, and water consumption by 96 percent.

Shiok Meats was founded in August 2018 by two stem cell scientists, Dr. Sandhya Sriram and Dr. Ka Yi Ling, with over 20 years of combined experience in the muscle, fat, and stem cell biology fields. Shiok’s mission is to produce clean, healthy, cruelty-free seafood. Their cell-based production process is non-GMO and chemical and antibiotic-free. 

Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO and co-founder of Shiok Meats:

“We are extremely excited to work in partnership with Aqua-Spark as we develop cell-based seafood and meats that are contributing towards a cleaner and healthier seafood industry and solving for the inefficiencies around global protein production. Aqua-Spark was the perfect partner to lead our Series A because they care deeply about funding companies that address planetary health and food security. With their help, we hope to become the global leader in cell-based crustaceans and seafood. We are pleased that Aqua-Spark supports our global impact vision and will be with us for the long haul.” 

Shiok stands out from other cell-based meat production companies because of their proprietary technology that isolates stem cells from shrimp, lobster, and crab—they are the first company to be able to do this for cell-based production at the moment. Once the stem cells are harvested, the shrimp, lobster, and crab meats are grown in nutrient-rich conditions, similar to that of a greenhouse. After four-to-six weeks, the cell-based seafood is exactly the same as its conventional counterpart but more sustainable, clean, and nutritious. Shiok’s patent-pending technology can grow crustaceans four times faster than conventional production. 

The output of Shiok’s pilot plant will be frozen cell-based shrimp meat for dumplings and other shrimp-based dishes. Beyond cell-based shrimp, Shiok plans to launch shrimp flavouring paste and powder, fully-formed 3D shrimp, and cell-based lobster and crab products in the coming years. 

To date, Aqua-Spark has now invested in 20 complementary companies, technologies, and inputs that are working toward the sustainable production of aquatic life. 


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