Danone Manifesto Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Danone, a leading global food and beverage company, has led a $7 million Series A funding round for Symbrosia, the Hawaii-based start up behind a feed additive for cattle that aims to reduce emissions.

Made with seaweed, the additive is said to reduce livestock methane emissions by more than 80% and aligns with Danone’s carbon neutral goals.

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.

After two years of research on seaweed breeding and cultivation technology, Symbrosia has developed strains that are significantly more productive, potent and resilient than wild populations.

The company will use the capital to scale production of these breakthrough seaweed strains by orders of magnitude and bring their livestock feed additive, SeaGrazeTM, to market with the world’s most innovative brands and producers.

Danone invests in Symbrosia
Symbrosia. Credit: Danone Manifesto Ventures

For Danone, this investment aligns with its goal of becoming carbon neutral across its full value chain by 2050.

Founder and CEO Alexia Akbay, a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient for Social Impact in 2022, said: “During the past two years of research, we pushed the boundaries in seaweed breeding to develop high-performing seaweed strains.

“This Series A funding round marks a critical inflection point where we shift our focus to bringing this innovation to market at scale, as quickly as possible, with strategic partners in Hawaii, California, and the Pacific Northwest. 

“The support from Danone Manifesto Ventures and our other investors, existing and new, will enable us to increase seaweed production by a factor of 1,000, round out our team expertise with strategic hires, and put SeaGrazeTM in the hands of visionary companies and livestock producers to create the world’s most sustainable livestock supply chains.

“Now is our moment to take action on methane.”

Jean Prevot, Vice President, Operations and Sustainability at Danone Manifesto Ventures said the company is thrilled to be partnering with Alexia and the Symbrosia team. 

“We are impressed by the drive and passion they have to meaningfully address climate change through the reduction of livestock methane emissions,” he continued.

“Given Danone’s leadership in the global dairy industry, this investment also complements our portfolio of strong solutions to help us and our partners achieve carbon neutrality across our value chain by 2050.”

Symbrosia completed the world’s first commercial A. taxiformis trial in 2020, testing SeaGrazeTM on an organic farm in Dover Plains, New York, where they confirmed drastic methane reduction.

After this successful proof of concept, with scalable production in mind, the company doubled down on research and technological development. 

During this phase, Symbrosia developed robust A. taxiformis strains that are a core differentiator, substantially improving the pace and unit economics of SeaGrazeTM production.

With the infusion of capital, Symbrosia plans to max out production in its pilot facility at its headquarters, which sits within the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park, and build a larger production facility to continue the exponential scale-up. 

The consistent year-round Hawaiian climate, aquaculture innovation ecosystem, and State support have amplified Symbrosia’s success in Hawaii. 

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