This week, San Francisco-based vegan seafood startup New Wave Foods announced it has raised $18 million in a Series A funding round to accelerate its mission of disrupting the global seafood industry. The funding round was led by investment firms New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and included Evolution VC Partners, as well as other new and existing investors such as Tyson Ventures (the venture capital arm of meat giant Tyson Foods). “Plant-based protein is one of the most important consumer trends in decades, with explosive demand for healthy, sustainable products, and New Wave Foods is delivering a plant-based seafood alternative that is delicious, responsible, and humane,” NEA General Partner Liza Landsman, who will join New Wave Foods’ Board of Directors, said. “It’s an uncompromising, category-defining approach to a fast-growing market, and we are thrilled to partner with the New Wave Foods team on what promises to be a remarkable journey.”

Bringing vegan seafood to market
At 1.5 billion pounds annually, shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the United States. Founded in 2015, New Wave Foods spent two years developing its plant-based shrimp, which is made from plant proteins and sustainable seaweed, and contains all eight essential amino acids that are found in meat and seafood. Initially, the company plans to sell its vegan shrimp through foodservice providers. “We’re launching a versatile plant-based shrimp that can be used in a wide range of shrimp dishes,” New Wave Foods Co-founder and CTO Michelle Wolf said. “We have developed a product that is delicious and easy to prepare; these are key factors for foodservice operators.

New Wave Foods will use the new capital to expand its marketing efforts, build out its team, and scale production of its plant-based seafood products, particularly vegan shrimp, in an effort to disrupt the $9 billion global shrimp industry. “Our focus is on offering customers a new, innovative, plant-based shellfish, beginning with the introduction of our plant-based shrimp. Along with a delicious tasting product, we aim to address the environmental issues that come with shrimp farming and overfishing,” New Wave Foods CEO Mary McGovern said. “We look forward to an exciting next chapter of growth for the company and are honored to have an outstanding group of investors who share and support our vision.”

Following the roll-out of its vegan shrimp, New Wave Foods will also launch plant-based lobster, scallops, and crab.