Staff Services Student Enterprise

MiAlgae secures multi-million-pound funding

18 Aug 2022

The Edinburgh-based biotechnology startup has secured a further investment of £2.3m to help drive the next stage of its growth journey.

Established in 2016 while Douglas Martin was studying for an MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, MiAlgae has created a solution to producing a sustainable source of Omega-3 for animal and human consumption – something which is currently produced by extracting the oil from billions of wild-caught fish.

Championing the circular economy, the company has developed a novel biotechnology platform which uses low-value coproducts from the food and drink industry as a feedstock to initially grow microalgae rich in Omega-3 oils.

Plans are already in place to commercialise other high-value compounds and pigments through the expansion of the platform.

The Conduit Impact Fund managed by Ascension led the round, investing £900,000, with new investor SIS Ventures putting forward £350,000.

Having already previously invested, Equity Gap, Old College Capital and Scottish Enterprise all committed to additional funding totalling over £1m. The investment builds on the £850k of grant funding recently secured from Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

The £2.3m investment will support the company in its growth plans which include the completion of a commercial demonstrator facility near Stirling which will drive MiAlgae’s expanding commercial traction.

Initially, the company is focused on the pet food sector with an eye on expansion into the aquaculture sector in the near future. Aquaculture is the largest consumer of fish oil produced globally which is used in fish feed.

The investment will also help grow the team at MiAlgae and increase its expertise. Ten new posts, including a Head of Engineering and Commercial Director, will be created.

Douglas Martin, Managing Director at MiAlgae, said

Our process is championing the circular economy and the investment we have secured will be transformational in helping MiAlgae scale quickly both locally and abroad.
Our commercial demonstrator plant, due to be completed early in 2023, will help us improve food security globally, while our research department continues to drive the development of exciting, commercially viable biotech innovations.

Hadley Diest, Investment Manager at the Conduit Impact Fund, said

MiAlgae’s circular economy approach to producing algae rich in Omega-3 solves key pain points on the supply (Scotch Whisky distilleries) and demand (pet food and fish feed producers) sides – to both dispose of Scotch byproducts sustainably and increase the supply of sustainably sourced, price-competitive, Omega-3 into the broader market.

Rob Halliday, Senior Investment Manager at SIS Ventures said

We believe in MiAlgae’s mission to become a world leader in biotechnology for good, and, by improving food security and reducing the impact of humanity on the planet through sustainable omega-3 production MiAlgae, will deliver important societal and environmental impact aligned to three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – life below water, good health and wellbeing, and responsible consumption and production.

Image: left to right: Douglas Martin, Managing Director, Joann Partridge, Operations Director and Shreekanth Ramananthan, Technical Director

MiAlgae, a University of Edinburgh startup

Douglas Martin founded MiAlgae while studying for an MSc at the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Innovations were instrumental in helping Douglas to develop and launch his business, and to win the earliest grants and awards, and connect with and pitch to investors.

Since its incorporation, MiAlgae has secured significant investment, including from Old College Capital, the in-house venture fund of the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Innovations continue to support the company as it looks to start scaling its technology.

Interested in MiAlgae?

Simon Durrant

Investment Fund Manager and University Company Observer

Making ideas work for a better world

People Places Planet

Join us and discover the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading circular economy expertise. Discover how you can work with us as we invite you to a campus that gives you full access to our academic researchers, projects, partners and data-driven innovation.
Discover more