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MiAlgae on track to shake up food industry after £500,000 investment

ECCI start-up MiAlgae, which aims to revolutionise the animal and fish feed industries with microalgae made from the co-products of whisky, has received £500,000 from investors.

The company was founded by Douglas Martin and is currently being supported through the third and final stage of the Climate-KIC Accelerator at ECCI. It grows algae rich in omega-3 and other nutrients using co-products from the whisky distillation process.

The microalgae produced can be used as a raw material for agricultural food products, with the company initially targeting the aquaculture industry with its new source of feed.

The investment is in equal shares from Equity Gap, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Edinburgh’s venture fund Old College Capital. It will enable the company to expand its team and build a pilot plant for its technology at a whisky distillery.

“This is a huge deal for us,” said Martin, who completed his Masters at the Unviesrity of Edinburgh.

“This investment will fund the initial scale-up steps and de-risk our commercial facility. It certainly sets us on track to achieve our ambitions.”

Martin will be looking to expand the company’s production capacity 30-fold and grow his two-strong team to five.

The £500,000 seed investment in MiAlgae follows a series of competition and funding successes.

As well success with the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme at ECCI, Martin obtained a Smart:Scotland grant in 2017, has won numerous competition plaudits and was recently named Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Martin recently pitched at the final of the 2018 Scottish EDGE competition with the chance of being awarded an additional £100k of funding for the company. The awards ceremony for the competition will be held on Thursday 14 June 2018.

Aquaculture is worth £1.8 billion a year to the Scottish economy, according to latest Scottish Government figures, but Martin’s ambition doesn't stop there.

“We’re looking at multiple industries in the supply side, multiple industries at the product side, then diversification into multiple products beyond feeds,” said Martin.

“There are lots of things we can do with our products.”

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