Good moos: Funds flow in for seaweed startup that aims to stem cattle burps
Methane emissions from farm animals are a huge greenhouse gas hazard.
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
As we have reported, several scientists as well as a Swedish company have been promoting the use of seaweed supplements to quell the considerable methane emissions from farm animals.
Well, now the U.S. has its own seaweed supplement startup — Hawaii-based Symbrosia — and it has just raised about $7 million to take it to the next level. “The company will use the capital to scale production of these breakthrough seaweed strains by orders of magnitude and bring their livestock feed additive, SeaGraze, to market with the world’s most innovative brands and producers,” boasted a press release.
The funding round is led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Danone (DANOY), a leading global food and beverage company mostly known for its yogurt. Additional investors in the funding round include previous seed investors, Pacific6 and HATCH, new investor, Presidio Ventures and new Hawaiian investors, Kamehameha Schools and Mana Up, along with individual local investors, farmers and “seaweed enthusiasts,” according to the release.
“Seaweed enthusiasts?” Now, there’s a group to ponder. The subject, though, is serious, with farm animals being one of the biggest contributors to pollution, with their belches and back-end toots contributing between 5% and 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to various estimates. For instance, at about 58 million tons of carbon a year, the cattle needed to make McDonald’s (MCD) hamburgers produce more emissions than Norway, reports Bloomberg.
SeaGraze could cut that considerably, with the company claiming that its specially bred additive could lower livestock emissions by more than 80%. It is the brainchild of CEO Alexia Akbay, a graduate of the Yale School of Public Health and a Forbes 30 Under 30 pick who formed the company almost three years ago.
“This Series A funding round marks a critical inflection point,” Akbay said, “where we shift our focus to bringing this innovation to market at scale, as quickly as possible.”
The planet waits in eager anticipation.