Suppliers' News

Italian biotech startup raises €750,000 to develop sustainable aquafeeds

The investment will allow the development of its biotech research and make the high-nutrient proteins extracted from insects and agricultural byproducts available for use in aquaculture on a large scale.

Andrea D'Addazio (left), CTO, and Alessandro Romano (right), CEO and founder of Ittinsect
February 21, 2023

Italian startup Ittinsect – Feed for the Ocean has closed its first capital increase of €625,000. Ittinsect produces highly nutritious aquafeed through the biotechnological treatment of new ingredients, including insects, microalgae, and agricultural byproducts, in line with circular economy principles.

CDP Venture Capital, Katapult Ocean, Indico Capital Partners, LVenture Group, and two angel investors participated in the round. This investment, combined with public grants and prizes, brings the startup’s funding to over €750,000. The investment will push Ittinsect to further develop its biotech research and make the high-nutrient proteins extracted from insects and agricultural byproducts available for use in aquaculture on a large scale.

“We think very highly of our investors. Each of them has significant expertise in their field and market. Working together, they have had and will continue to play an important role in Ittinsect’s growth,” said Alessandro Romano, CEO and founder of Ittinsect. “We all work towards a specific goal: making aquaculture independent of marine resources, making it even more sustainable than it already is. We are excited to welcome new investors onboard our journey towards zero-ocean-impact aquaculture.”

By the end of 2023, Ittinsect will have produced and delivered 1,500 tonnes of sustainable, high-performance aquafeed. The company will expand its existing product offerings, including those for trout and sturgeon, with feed for seawater fish such as seabass and seabream, and new functional ingredients for use in feed for other fish species, including salmon and tilapia.

Ittinsect joins a growing number of companies operating in the valorization of agricultural byproducts sector to create high-nutrient alternative proteins and serves a rapidly expanding market. Investors have expressed enthusiasm for Ittinsect’s growth potential and its positive impact on the environment, particularly the marine ecosystem.

“Ittinsect is one of the most promising startups we see emerging from the selected startup nursery programs in the National Accelerator Network, a network composed of hubs focused on markets with the greatest growth potential and connected to a system of corporate partners and investors,” said Stefano Molino, head of the Accelerator Fund at CDP Venture Capital Sgr. “We are very pleased to invest in this biotech startup that has a significant research background and proposes a sustainable solution for the aquaculture industry. After maturing 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 of the Norwegian fund Katapult Ocean.

Ittinsect was founded in 2021, has a team of experts in biotechnology, marine biology, fish nutrition, and sustainability, operates in three research laboratories in the region of Rome, and has a patent pending. It has formed strategic partnerships with players in the production field.

The company, headquartered in Rome and operating nationally and across Europe, 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 step in Ittinsect’s journey, which aims to become the European reference for the development of alternative proteins through the valorization of byproducts using biotech processes.