Rome-based insect aquaculture feed developer Ittinsect has raised €625,000 in pre-seed funds.
The funding comes on top of earlier public grant awards by Lazio's regional authorities, bringing Ittinsect's overall pre-seed including non-dilutive funds to above €750,000.
By the end of 2023, Ittinsect expects to have delivered 1,500 tonnes or so of its sustainable fish feed formula to aquaculture clients. The pre-seed funds should help deliver biotech research to those ends, aimed at manifesting high-efficiency extraction techniques for yielding insect protein.
The platform is described as the first to use a "circular solution around the fish farming supply chain using enriched insect powder", and is aimed at supplanting 2 million tonnes of fish meal "currently used in Europe."
At present, Ittinsect largely distributes insect-derived food for trout and sturgeon fish. But it's currently eyeing similar products for saltwater species, like sea bass, along with salmon, tilapia and other aquaculture breeds.
Ittinsect was co-founded by its CEO Alessandro Romano, who previously worked for the Swiss global ship-broking company IFCHOR.
Ross Brooks, Katapult investment partner, set out the deal's rationale by explaining insect meal was sustainable marine life feed but needed more work to tailor the concept for specific fish breeds while also sustaining the scale up of insect meal supplies.
"In order for insect meal to be adopted at scale digestibility and bioavailability of insect meal must be improved significantly," Brooks said. "Ittinsect addresses this challenge directly with its unique bioprocessing approach, which unlocks insect meal as a key replacement to fishmeal for finfish aquaculture in Europe and beyond.”
Alessandro Romano, Ittinsect CEO, added: "The team and I hold the investors in high esteem. Each of them has great expertise in their field and their target market. Working in synergy, they have played and will continue to play an important role in the growth of Ittinsect”
"We all work with a clear goal: to make aquaculture independent from marine resources, and therefore even more sustainable than it already is. We are excited to welcome new investors on our journey towards zero-impact aquaculture on the sea”