Ittinsect – Feed for the Ocean, a biotech startup developing a sustainable alternative to aquaculture feed, has closed its first investment round of €625K in which CDP Venture Capital, through the Accelerators Fund, Katapult Ocean, Indico Capital Partners, LVenture Group and two angel investors participated. This investment comes on top of a series of public awards and funding from, among others, the Lazio Region, bringing the startup’s pre-seed funding to over €750K.
The investment raised will enable Ittinsect to develop biotech research further, making highly nutritious proteins extracted from insects and agricultural by-products commercially accessible for use in aquaculture.
“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”, said Alessandro Romano, CEO and founder 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”.
By the end of 2023, Ittinsect will have produced and delivered 1,500 tonnes of sustainable, nutrient-dense feed for aquaculture. The company will expand its existing product offerings – those for trout and sturgeon – with meals 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.
Ittinsect joins a growing line-up of companies operating in the field of agricultural by-product valorisation for the creation of alternative proteins with high nutritional value and serves a booming market. Investors have expressed enthusiasm for Ittinsect’s growth potential and its positive impact on the environment and the marine ecosystem.
“Ittinsect is one of the most promising realities that we are seeing emerge from the breeding ground of startups selected in the programmes of the CDP National Accelerator Network, a network made up of hubs focused on markets with the greatest growth potential and connected to a system of corporate partners and investors” – commented Stefano Molino, Head of the Accelerator Fund of CDP Venture Capital Sgr – “We are very pleased to invest in this startup, a biotech company with a significant research background and proposing a sustainable solution for the aquaculture supply chain. After its growth path in the ZERO Accelerator, Ittinsect has the potential to become a real game changer in this relevant market”.
“In order for insect meal to be adopted at scale digestibility and bioavailability of insect meal must be improved significantly. 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”, said Ross Brooks, Partner at Norway’s Katapult Ocean fund, the world’s most active impact investor.
“Ittinsect is a prime example of a startup with a solid business model and a product that is appreciated by the market, all under the banner of sustainability. The team, characterised by the audacious goal of making the feed industry independent from the fishing industry, has a strong execution capability and has laid the foundation for fast and structured growth. Indico Capital firmly believes that with its support Ittinsect will have an impact on a global scale”, said André de Almeida Santos, Partner at Indico Capital Partners, the first blue economy investor in Portugal.
“We invested in Ittinsect by selecting it for the first batch of the ZERO accelerator because the startup has developed a solution with great potential to change a global market, with a view to sustainability. From the very beginning, Ittinsect has demonstrated solid biotech skills, an international vision, and a great passion for revolutionising the aquaculture sector while contributing to the protection of the marine ecosystem”, said Giulio Montoli, Head of Pre-Seed at LVenture Group.
Ittinsect was founded in 2021, employs a team of experts in biotechnology, marine biology, fish nutrition, and sustainability, operates three separate research laboratories in the region, and has filed a patent-pending, forging strategic partnerships with players in the production sector.
The company, based in Rome and operating at the national and European levels, was accelerated by ZERO, the Cleantech accelerator of the CDP National Network launched by CDP Venture Capital and Eni together with LVenture Group and Elis.
This round is the first stage in the journey of Ittinsect, which aims to become the European benchmark for the development of alternative proteins through the valorisation of by-products by means of biotech processes.