The seaweed sector: high tide for ocean impact
Katapult began following the seaweed market three years ago, when the European sector was relatively young and only a handful of low value applications for the raw material existed. Production and technology companies in the sector are now starting to gain significant traction, as the huge potential of this wonder material becomes better understood.
Today, entrepreneurs in the seaweed space are bringing applications to the market including: animal feed, plant based food products as a protein, clothing material, cosmetics and as an input for sustainable alternatives to plastics.
Ross Brooks, Investment Director for Katapult Ocean and a member of Seaweed for Europe has concluded that several factors will contribute to the industry’s future success:
“Amongst the scientific community there is a growing consensus around carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services brought about by sustainable seaweed farming. With technological improvements in the sector and the evolution of financial products better suited to the yield characteristics of seaweed farming, the industry is set to make further inroads into the mainstream.
In Katapult, our approach is to make early phase investments in ocean and climate tech startups, so we are directly addressing the factors that will contribute to seaweed’s success.”
Katapult is bullish about the seaweed industry as a whole. Ross Brooks notes that we are yet to realise algae’s full potential:
“The solutions offered by seaweed cultivation cannot be underestimated. On a societal level, seaweed offers a fast-growing, sustainable alternative protein for a growing global population. This is coupled by the sector’s potential to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. Seaweed farms are a scalable tool for carbon capture and they hold the ability to absorb excess nutrients entering the ocean from agricultural runoff.”
Katapult is keen to bolster its expertise in seaweed and accelerate the industry’s positive impact.
“The Katapult system has screened more than 13 000 early phase tech impact companies over the past few years, and we have a good overview of how these industries move. So far, we have made 120 investments. We often catch up on trends early, and are able to follow industry trends through our investment model,” says Fredrik Winther, CEO of Katapult Group.
So far, Katapult has invested in 6 seaweed based companies: Ocean Rainforest (DK/US), Oceanium (UK), Algaeing (GE/Israel), 12 Tides (USA), Oregon Seaweed (USA) and SoftSeaweed (No). We are actively looking to add more startups through our startup accelerator programs, which recruits twice a year.”