Perth, 12 October 2023 – Western Australian-based biotech company SeaStock was today named as a finalist in the internationally recognized MassChallenge Switzerland 2023 accelerator program.
SeaStock is one of only 12 finalists from an initial field of more than 1200 to be selected to return to Switzerland next week to compete for the overall prize. The company has also been selected as one of only six finalists in the Louis Dreyfus Company Climate Resilience Prize which recognizes startups working to drive the climate resilience and decarbonization of agriculture and food value chains.
SeaStock was one of over 1200 other startups from across the globe to apply for the accelerator program located in Lausanne, Switzerland, in May this year and the only Australian company to be selected as a finalist in this year’s program.
The company’s finals selection this week follows an in-person attendance during July and September where contenders met with a range of European industry heavy weights to pitch their businesses and meet with potential partners, investors and collaborators.
SeaStock Managing Director and Company Co-Founder, Tom Puddy, said the selection process had been incredibly rigorous and time intensive and being selected for two of the major awards was recognition of the company’s mission, commercial scalability, and credentials.
“We are one of only a handful of companies globally to be licensed by global IP patent holder FutureFeed to supply the powerful native seaweed, Asparagopsis based methane reducing feed ingredient commercially.
“Our company and technology is backed by ten years of research by CSIRO which has commercialized this world changing discovery and allowed us to perfect and fine tune a patented, land based cultivation and extraction technique which we are able to scale commercially and at high grade purity to meet the growing global demand for seaweed based feed ingredients and other naturally sourced, seaweed based compounds,” Mr Puddy said.
“The focus is continuing to increase on seaweed-based feed ingredients globally as a near-term, cost-effective method of assisting the agriculture industry to really shift the dial in a significant manner in terms of meeting increasingly stringent methane reduction targets globally to combat climate change,” he added.
“This program, and the recognition and industry connections that come with it, is not just about awarding a prize, it’s about helping businesses scale to a commercial level, to connect with future offtake partners and investors and customers globally and to really give them a commercial kick start into key global markets particularly across Europe.
“What I’ve seen from the meetings with key European commercial entities such as Nestle, Buhler, Omya, DSM, Givaudan and Louis Dreyfus Company, is that many of them are far further down the track in terms of ESG and implementing tangible solutions to meeting and tackling climate change targets being set by governments, industry and businesses themselves.
“We need support and investment to scale commercially and to do so in a fairly rapid time frame and we need the support of governments to do this and to help primary producers to incorporate cost effective, proven and sustainable solutions it into their operations,” Mr Puddy said.
“We’ve shown at our Fremantle based hatchery and pilot plant that we can produce and extract commercially valuable products from seaweed grown in a controlled environment and that we can do so sustainably using renewable energy sources, cost effectively with high purity and high concentration while retaining a natural ingredient status.”
“The interest in our industry is growing exponentially year on year and we are at the forefront in terms of the science behind cultivating and extracting high value compounds from seaweed and commercializing the supply of those products to end users globally.”
Since 2016, MassChallenge Switzerland has been a leader in helping startups across Europe and beyond grow their businesses. To date 610 MassChallenge Switzerland alumni have raised more than CHF 985M (AUD $1.6B) in funding and created value for both economies and societies around the world.
SeaStock commenced operations in September 2021 in Western Australia with the aim of identifying high value natural compounds derived from native seaweeds in Western Australian waters.
The company was the first in Western Australia to be licensed by Future Feed, which holds the global IP for the use of Asparagopsis seaweed as a livestock feed ingredient that has been shown to lower methane emissions in ruminant livestock by 80% or more.
There are currently only five Future Feed licensees in Australia/New Zealand and only nine globally.
The company’s cultivation method has the potential to be replicated globally and generate the natural bromoform feed supplement that can be used across the diary and beef industries globally.
SeaStock has also filed patents covering a novel method to cultivate and replicate the reproductive lifecycle stages of Asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed and a novel method to efficiently extract the natural compounds from within the seaweed.
SeaStock established a corporate headquarters and pilot plant facility in Fremantle Western Australia earlier this year and is currently engaged in conducting feasibility studies for a fully operational commercial plant in regional Western Australia in 2024.
Mass Challenge Switzerland partners Buhler Group, Givaudan, Nestle, DSM, Louis Dreyfus Company and Sudzucker promote the challenge with the aim of identifying startups or scaleups with proven solutions or technology in the areas of sustainable food and feeding solutions, sustainable supply chain and manufacturing, sustainable packaging and Agri Tech.
Shortlisted companies are given a direct pathway to multi-national corporations to explore ways to collaborate with them and to assist them to scale their technology.
Judging criteria for the challenge focuses on a company’s ability to impact emissions reduction targets and to be both viable commercially and scalable.