arine ingredient start-up, Yemoja, Ltd., has created a next-gen platform for cultivating customized, pharmaceutical grade microalgae on demand. Founded three years ago by a team of marine biology and biotech experts, the Tel Hai, Israel-based company utilizes a unique, high-precision fast-track photobioreactor technology for microalgae production.
Yemoja-cultivated microalgae can be tailored to desired nutritional compounds and functionalities. The start-up can produce algae-centered ingredients standardized to any bioactive compound or algae extract encompassing fucoxanthins, polysaccharides, xanthophylls, carotenoids, enzymes, and more.
“There is a vast ocean of microalgae species not yet discovered, and only a dozen or so are commercially available,” said Eyal Shalmon, CEO of Yemoja. “The market is still in the early stages of tapping into the immense potential of these marine ‘supercrops’. Our mission is to boost the entire microalgae value chain with new varieties and yields; and bring them to the mainstream of high-end nutraceutical food and cosmeceutical spheres with additional formulations in the pipeline.”
“Yemoja’s patented technology evolved from a deep-rooted appreciation of biopharma and marine sciences, supported by extensive experience in algae cultivation,” said Erez Ashkenazi, COO and Co-Founder of Yemoja. “This unprecedented capacity was collectively harnessed to produce a variety of pure algae at any scale, and in a short time — something the microalgae market has not witnessed until now.”
Yemoja claims their cultivation methodology overcomes many of the industry’s hurdles, specifically compositional homogeneity, scalability, and contamination proofing, and ensures clean, safe microalgae throughout the process.
The start-up operates an indoor, high-precision, contaminant-free closed cultivation system that maintains full control of key parameters such as temperature, pH, light, and CO2 emissions, and allows for the simultaneous growth of multiple species in a very tightly controlled environment.
“Microalgae are sunlight-driven, single-celled factories, and by nature highly resilient and versatile,” said Amikam Bar-Gil, CTO and co-founder of Yemoja. “They also are a powerful source of natural, vegan, bioactive ingredients. Our innovative approach serves to create pure, sustainable microalgae-derived products of the highest quality, and that can be naturally adapted into any desired matrix.”
Yemoja is currently moving into Round B funding. It already has raised US$4 million in seed funds and investments from the Israel Innovation Authority.