Scottish algae start-up MiAlgae raises £1 million in commercialization drive

January 9, 2020 |

In Scotland, algae start-up MiAlgae said that it has raised £1 million to focus on the commercialization of its revolutionary microalgae product, and said that will use the investment to double the size of its business premises, commission a demonstrator plant in East Lothian and make five new hires in the next 12 months.

The investment comes from previous investors in MiAlgae – Equity Gap, Scottish Investment Bank and Old College Capital, alongside Hillhouse Group, a new investor in the business.

MiAlgae uses co-products from the whisky distillation process to produce microalgae, which is high in omega 3 and other nutrients. The algae can be used to sustainably feed fish and create animal food. MiAlgae said that one tonne of its algae saves up to 30 tonnes of wild fish.

MiAlgae was founded by Douglas Martin in 2016 while studying Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh. He is supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialization service, which also manages Old College Capital, the University’s venture fund.

“MiAlgae has essentially taken a by-product from one industry and turned it into a solution for another industry. Through the application of biotechnology, MiAlgae is finding solutions to feed the world’s population, and with the global aquaculture industry set to double in size in the next ten years, this is a very promising business indeed,” said Andrew Vernon of Hillhouse Group.

According to Fraser Lusty, Investment Director at Equity Gap: “Since our last investment in MiAlgae 18 months ago, the business has achieved a great deal, designing and building its pilot plant, making its first sales to a premium dog food company, and beginning production with its first large scale tank.

“The business now turns its focus to commercialization and scaling up. The global pet food market is worth $100 billion and growing at around 5%. MiAlgae plans to supply customers in both the pet food market and the aquacultural industry in the next 12 months. This is an exciting business, and one to watch over the next couple of years.”

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