Seaweed farmer Ocean Rainforest, with origins in the Faroe Islands, has closed a Series-A investment round of 6.2 million USD, according to a news release. The funding “will enable further expansion of operations in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Eastern Pacific Rim, and accelerate product and market development,” a statement read.
Ocean Rainforest is a seaweed cultivation and processing company based in the Faroes as well as in California, USA. Since 2010, the company has developed a proven ‘first of its kind’ open-ocean cultivation system and has consistently remained suitable for real offshore conditions in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Today the company is among the largest commercial seaweed cultivators in Europe and has reportedly obtained the first-ever offshore seaweed cultivation permit in United States federal waters located offshore of Santa Barbara, CA.
According to the statement, the new investment funding allows Ocean Rainforest to scale up seaweed production to supply the functional food and feed markets leveraging existing company facilities in the Faroe Islands while also expanding its operations in California.
“We are excited about Ocean Rainforest’s capabilities to successfully grow seaweed in open ocean environments,” said Marc von Keitz, director at the Grantham Foundation. “This funding will significantly expand their production into off-shore waters and will be critical to meet growing market demand and to reach climate-relevant scale.”
The funding was led by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, who invested alongside Katapult Ocean’s Deep Blue fund, Builders Vision and the Ocean Born Foundation. Existing shareholders World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US), Norðoya Íløgufelag and Twynam Invest also participated in this Series A round, according to Ocean Rainforest.
“With limited environmental impacts and a low carbon footprint, seaweed absorbs CO2 and other excess nutrients from the ocean, making this fast-growing crop a climate-smart and nutritious food source,” said Paul Dobbins, Senior Director of Impact Investing at World Wildlife Fund – US. “But seaweed can only thrive as a climate change solution if we create a market for the many food, feed and fossil-based replacement products seaweed can provide. Ocean Rainforest is addressing the feed market and their successful capital raise shines a spotlight on this growing opportunity.”
“We are delighted that our existing shareholders as well as the new highly renowned investors within the sustainable ocean and climate impact contributed to the success of this financing round,” Ocean Rainforest co-founder and CEO Ólavur Gregersen stated. “The investment enables us to scale up operations in the Faroe Islands and continue to commercialize our cultivation and processing activities of Giant Kelp in California. Furthermore, we will investigate possibilities for replication of our business model in collaboration with local partners in specific locations in Europe and North America.”