08 June 2020, London, UK: ADM Capital Europe, the London-based private equity firm, is pleased to announce that its Cibus Enterprise Fund (“Cibus”) has invested in the cell-based seafood producer, Blue Nalu, located in San Diego, California.
ADM Capital’s Cibus Fund, having searched for investments in the cell-based meat sector, approached BlueNalu and found it to be the pinnacle of innovation and the first mover in the cell-based seafood sector. BlueNalu’s strives to be the global leader in cellular aquaculture, providing consumers with great tasting, healthy, safe and trusted cell-based seafood products that support the sustainability and diversity of the ocean.
The Cibus team recognise that consumption of seafood is increasing and global supply for seafood products is struggling to meet demand. Populations of marine species have halved since 1970 due to overfishing, illegal fishing, rising ocean temperatures, acidification, the effects of trawling, and a number of other environmental, social, and political challenges. Consumers are looking for more from their food choices and are increasingly concerned about animal welfare and the conditions in which fish are farmed and caught. In addition, they are increasingly concerned about their own personal welfare, as seafood can be a source of mercury, toxins and poisons; pathogens, viruses, and parasites; micro-particles of plastics due to plastic pollution in our ocean; and a variety of other environmental pollutants. BlueNalu is the pioneer in “cellular aquaculture”, in which living cells are isolated from fish tissue, placed into culture media for proliferation, and then assembled into great-tasting fresh and frozen seafood products that mitigates or eradicates all of these problems with seafood production.
Cibus identified BlueNalu as a platform that produces sustainable seafood options without compromising flavour or texture. The company represents an important direction change in the meat alternatives sector and have distinguished themselves as the first mover into the fish category. BlueNalu only grows whole fillets without having to grow the rest of the fish and therefore the products will maximize feed conversion and will result in zero fish waste.
BlueNalu is committed to working with the seafood industry to supplement current supply and are specifically focused on species that are over-fished, primarily imported, or difficult to farm-raise. As a result, they can reduce pressure on wild fisheries, displace the need for foreign imports, create local jobs, enhance food security and promote increased consumption of healthy seafood options. BlueNalu does not conduct or commission testing of their products on animals and does not use genetic modification, Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS) or antibiotics to produce their seafood.
Commenting, Alastair Cooper, Head of Early Stage Investments, ADM Capital said: “Much of the world’s intensive protein production is unsustainable, faces second order environmental challenges and fail to meet our investment standards. We believe the that biofermentation of cells in controlled conditions presents a technological solution to these problems. BlueNalu represents the first investment into the cell-based protein sector for the Cibus Fund and we are excited to be working with a world-class team to execute the business’ ambitious growth strategy.”
Commenting, Jason Silm, Senior Investment Director, ADM Capital said: “Our investment underlines our commitment to investing in industry leaders who place innovation, efficiency and sustainability at the core of their business and produce the highest quality products. BlueNalu embraces cutting edge technologies to eliminate the risks posed by disease, uses no antibiotics or growth hormones and has already produced plastic-free tuna steaks. We look forward to working with the company’s management team to grow the operation to commercialisation and, using new channels of distribution, take the company directly into new markets.”
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About ADM Capital
ADM Capital is a Hong Kong and London-based private credit and private equity fund manager and adviser. Founded in 1998, ADM Capital manages or advises USD 2.39bn across a range of funds. With over 45people operating out of 4 centers ADM Capital manages closed-ended and open-ended funds and managed accounts. With its long track record, and expertise in Asia, ADM Capital focuses on off-market private transactions accessed via its extensive, proprietary network. ADM Capital recently launched the Cibus Fund, focussed on investing growth capital into next generation global food and agriculture opportunities.
About the Cibus Fund
The Cibus Fund focusses on mid-market buy-out opportunities in sustainable food companies, primarily across Europe, North America and Australasia. Cibus Enterprise Fund has a global mandate to invest in late-stage venture companies in the agri-technology sector. The Fund sees significant investment opportunities presented by global demographic changes, shifting consumption patterns and the inability of the world’s fastest growing economies to meet rapidly increasing regional demand for high-value foods. Cibus targets companies with strong management teams that are active in one or more stages of high-value food chains and looks for companies that are established category champions with a demonstrable technological advantage. Investments are evaluated on their environmental sustainability as a key determinant of value creation.
In October 2018, The Cibus Fund was the first fund to be given ‘Guernsey Green Fund’ status by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission launched the Guernsey Green Fund in July 2018 and it is only awarded to those funds which meet strict eligibility criteria designed to reassure investors that funds are invested in line with appropriate environmental standards. Cibus has been granted this status in recognition of the fact it regards environmental sustainability as a key determinant of value creation.