Forsea has grown its team over the last few months.

Cell-grown eel meat pioneer Forsea raises $5.2m

Simpler and more cost-effective process will make product more affordable says Israeli start-up


Israeli foodtech company Forsea has raised US $5.2 million to finance progress towards commercial production of eel meat grown from cells.

The seed round was led by Berlin-based Target Global. The Kitchen FoodTech Hub; PeakBridge VC; Zora Ventures; FoodHack, and Milk & Honey Ventures also invested.

The eel has become an endangered species, while the demand for its meat keeps increasing in markets such as Europe and Asia.

Forsea utilises a non-GMO organoid platform in which the eel meat is grown as a three-dimensional tissue structure in the same manner it would grow in a living fish.

No scaffolding stage

The company says this technology bypasses the scaffolding stage and requires fewer bioreactors, a process that is much simpler and more cost-effective than traditional cell culturing. It also dramatically reduces the amount of expensive growth factors required, making the final product more affordable.

Dr Iftach Nachman, co-founder of Forsea, developed the organoid technology to solve the bottleneck of the eel meat industry, although it also intends to produce cultured meat from other species in the future.

Forsea is promoting its potential to make money and reduce pressure on wild fish stocks.

“We are eager to take part in Forsea’s quest to create sustainable, better-for-you seafood products that do not disrupt the biodiversity of the oceans,” said Shmuel Chafets, executive chairman and founder of Target Global, in a press release.

“Forsea is poised to make a dramatic impact on the seafood ecosystem. Its pillar platform solves a bottleneck in the cultivated meat industry by creating affordable, ethical, cultivated seafood products that can replace vulnerable fish species.”

Pilot plant

Forsea intends to inaugurate its pilot plant during 2023. The plant will allow the company to create a preliminary design for a large-scale alpha production system, and to launch the company’s first products.

The start-up will invest the newly raised capital to accelerate R&D for both growing eel meat and developing the process for other fish species. It will also improve and expand its core technology to enable organoid growth in large-scale bioreactors, while developing methods to increase production yield and profitability at a lower cost. These include perfecting a continuous feeding strategy and nutritional support. Recently Forsea expanded its R&D team and activities to Rehovot, in the heart of Israel’s FoodTech valley.

“We are very excited to announce the completion of this funding round,” said Forsea chief executive and co-founder Roee Nir, a biotechnology engineer. “Our investors express their trust in our game-changing technology for producing seafood with a minimal footprint on the environment. The patented organoid technology allows us to contribute to a safe and more resilient food system consumers demand.”

He added: “We can produce a product identical in flavour, texture, appearance, and nutritional values to real eel.

“Organoid platform allows us to design the fish fillet exactly as it grows in the fish, that is, in a three-dimensional structure, without growing the fat and muscle tissues separately.”

Breakthrough technology

Forsea was founded a year ago with the support of Israel’s The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, part of The Strauss-Group.

“Depletion of world fisheries is a major threat to our food security,” said Amir Zaidman, chief business officer of The Kitchen Hub. “For this reason, we teamed up with Nir and the founding team and backed Forsea from its inception at The Kitchen. We are proud to continue our support and to participate in the seed round of Forsea as it continues to attain its goals.”

Yoni Glickman, managing partner of investor FoodSparks by PeakBridge, said Forsea has demonstrated breakthrough technology, having recruited an experienced team to solve a significant problem in the food system caused by overfishing and habitat loss.