Shiok Meats is the first cell-based seafood and meat company in Southeast Asia and the first cell-based crustacean (shrimp, lobster, crab, crayfish) company globally to bring sustainable, healthy, cruelty-free, and delicious cell-based meat to the world.

Vinh Hoan Corporation participated in the raise, alongside South Korean food delivery giant Woowa Brothers and food manufacturer CJ CheilJedang. Woowa is the operator of South Korea’s largest food delivery app, Baedal Minjok, and CJ CheilJedang, the F&B arm of CJ Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in the country. The new bridge funds bring Shiok’s total capital raised to around $30 million to date. Shiok says the proceeds will primarily be used to fuel its ongoing R&D, help build its new production site, and lower costs.

Co-founder and CEO Sandhya Sriram told AFN that the startup is expecting to close a full Series B round sometime next year. The bridge funding “is more of a strategic partnership round; rather than [being about] the funding amount per se, it’s a vote of confidence and commitment from our new investors to building a sustainable future of food,” she said.

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“South Korea is an important prospective market for us and both Woowa Brothers and CJ are successful players in the Korean food industry. Through this partnership, we are expecting strategic advisory and support as we plan our next steps in this market.”

Vinh Hoan — which has also invested in Hong Kong cultivated seafood startup Avant Meats — “has a longstanding repute for embracing innovation while being one of the largest processors and exporters of fresh and frozen seafood,” she added.

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Since being founded in 2018, Shiok Meats has made significant progress in a short span. They launched their first cell-based shrimp and lobster prototypes in exclusive tasting sessions in 2019 and 2020, respectively. At the moment, the startup boasts a team of 30 scientists, engineers, and food tech specialists, all working to bring its cell-cultured crustaceans to launch in Singapore and the Asia market latest by 2023.