Sea & Believe is a bit different from the typical IndieBio company in that they already have a successful product in the market. The Ireland-based company sells two alternative fish products, an Irish seaweed burger and seaweed gudgeons, and today they are available in 50 stores across Ireland.
But as the company showed off last week at IndieBio’s Demo Day, they’re about to launch what they consider their biggest breakthrough yet: a whole ‘cod’ fillet made from of plants that crumbles like real fish.
For company founder Jennifer O’Brien, Irish seaweed is a natural fit as a staple for an alternative seafood product. Growing up in Ireland, O’Brien ate seaweed to find relief from his chronic asthma. The more she studied it, the more she realized the other benefits of algae, including its ability to deacidify the ocean, sequestering carbon at a rate three times higher per acre than forests.
“I knew then there was something special about Irish seaweed,” O’Brien told IndieBio. “I wanted to learn more about its properties and understand how to turn this into a business one day.”
This dream eventually led her to found Sea & Believe, where she and Chief Technology Officer Piyali Chakraborty eventually launched their first products and began developing their white cod fillet. The company believes the tenderloin, which will contain up to 25 grams of protein, will be the first plant-based seafood product to flake like the real thing.
The company is raising funds to further develop its cod and expand its seaweed supply chain, including a seaweed farm in the North West of Ireland. They are working with two Irish agencies – Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Seafood Development Agency, and Údarás na Gaeltachta (UnAg), an Irish Regional Economic Development Agency – to help train local fishermen in harvest seaweed on 500 meter ropes.
The company is looking to raise $3 million in seed funding. With a product already on the market and a successful prototype of plant-based puff cod, I imagine it won’t take long given the growing interest in alternative seafood.
You can watch their presentation video below to learn more.