Ittinsect – Feed for the Ocean, a biotech startup developing the sustainable alternative to aquaculture feed, has closed its first capital raise of €625,000 in which CDP Venture Capital, through the Accelerators Fund, Katapult Ocean, Indico Capital Partners, LVenture Group, and two angel investors participated. This investment is in addition to a series of public awards and funding from, among others, the Lazio Region, bringing the startup’s raising to more than €750,000.
The investment raised will allow Ittinsect to further develop biotech research, making highly nutritious proteins extracted from insects and agricultural byproducts commercially accessible for use in aquaculture. “We are all working with a clear goal: to make aquaculture independent of marine resources, and thus even more sustainable than it already is. We are excited to welcome new investors on board our journey to zero-impact aquaculture on the sea,” said Alessandro Romano, CEO and founder of Ittinsect.
The goals of Ittinsect round
By the end of 2023, Ittinsect will have produced and delivered 1,500 tons of sustainable, nutrient-dense feed for aquaculture. The company will expand its existing product offerings, those for trout and sturgeon, with feeds for saltwater fish such as sea bass and sea bream, and new functional ingredients for inclusion in feeds for other fish species, including salmon and tilapia.
“If insect meal is to be adopted on a large scale there needs to be a significant improvement in its digestibility and bioavailability. Ittinsect directly addresses this challenge with its unique biotechnological treatment that makes insect meal a viable substitute for fishmeal in fish feeds in Europe and beyond,” said Ross Brooks, Partner at Norway’s Katapult Ocean fund, among the world’s most active impact investors.
The creation of alternative proteins
“Ittinsect is one of the most promising realities that we are seeing emerge from the nursery of startups selected in the programs of the National Accelerator Network, a network composed of hubs focused on markets with the greatest growth potential and connected to a system of corporate partners and investors,” Stefano Molino, Head of the Accelerator Fund of CDP Venture Capital Sgr, said on the sidelines of the deal.
How Ittinsect was created
The distance from Venice to Corfu, sailing along the eastern coast of the Adriatic, is approximately 750 nautical miles, almost 1,400 kilometers. You caress the beaches and bays of four countries, from Croatia to Albania, up to appearing on the Greek waters of the Ionian Sea. Two sailors decided to make the journey aboard a Tornado, a catamaran just over six meters long.
During this journey, which lasted 40 days, the young naval engineer, and future founder of the startup Ittinsect, Alessandro Romano, who left together with his friend Amerigo Guardigli, notices a disturbing detail: where there was intense fishing activity on the high seas, the presence of fish on the coasts was much more scarce.
Once the problem was identified, it was urgent to find the solution, i.e. an alternative to traditional flours. To develop his own project, the founder and CEO of Ittinsect enlist experts in the world of fish farming, experts, and marine biologists. “Our aim was to combine the protein value of the feed with a circular economy process,” underlineed Alessandro. “From this point of view, the solution lies in insects, able to feed on agricultural waste, which would otherwise have to be stored, and offer the animal proteins necessary for the animal feed industry. It is, therefore, possible to create a sustainable supply chain, capable of self-feeding and reducing overfishing”.
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First published in StartupItalia, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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